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Published in TNT Mirror Friday, December 29, 2017; Originally written by Ayesha S. Harrison

The Sunflower Project Art Show and Auction was held on December 2, 2017 to celebrate the artwork completed by 21 local primary school students from Tacarigua and Tunapuna. The participants represent various academic profiles. Some struggle with attention, concentration, and/or hyperactivity, while others have been diagnosed with mental conditions that impact learning. Their educators chose them because they believed access to a creative outlet would 

sunflower market bags. As people gazed and mingled, the participating students worked on mosaic art sheets. The program began with a prayer, the national anthem and opening remarks from Dr. Emanuel Hosein, the chairman of Tunapuna Community Council. He stressed the importance of acknowledging and accepting that we all learn and develop at our own pace. These statements led him to conclude that when programs like Exploring the Arts cater to the needs of an inclusive group of students, we, as a community, must take the necessary steps to continue and cherish this type of work.

have a positive impact on behavior and confidence. The project and fundraiser were a great success.


Over 70 community members, educators, families and students attended the art show and auction, including Councillor Aaron Thomas and representatives from government offices related to social welfare and community development. The event started with a display of all 21 painted mosaic sunflower

Councillor Aaron Thomas and student artist

He was followed by Ayesha Harrison, the founder and director of Patchwerk and the art teacher for The Sunflower Project. She reviewed the classroom milestones the students achieved to produce the final product. First, they learned how to define and identify mosaic art. Next, the class discussed color symbolism and selection, and chose the three Caribbean flags they each would use for their color palates. The third step involved sketching and outlining their own mosaic sunflowers. These sketches were then copied onto their canvas bags. They learned how to appropriately draw and paint on canvas. The final pieces not only showcase their creativity, but also reveal the high levels of concentration and dedication they can reach.

Ayesha Harrison and Sunflower Project students from Good Shepherd Tunapua Anglican Primary School

After Ayesha Harrison presented, Mrs. Linnea Sampath-Chai, the principal of Charis Works Christian Academy, delivered the keynote speech. She expressed her admiration for the work her students completed and retold stories about watching them run to the school gate to greet Ayesha each week. Though a bit hesitant to invite a stranger into her school, after the first class, it became evident to her how dedicated

Charis Works Christian Academy student artist raises 500.00 TTD for his artwork
Charis Works Christian Acadmey student artist raises 500.00 TTD for her artwork

and passionate Ayesha is about teaching, encouraging and challenging young minds in creative ways. Her words set the tone for the auction. As expected, this was the most exciting part of the morning. Everyone participated with a special kind of eagerness. Parents and community members playfully fought for the market bags. Not one, but two bags went for 500.00 TTD and the average closing price was 211.00 TTD. The auction alone raised 4,440.00 TTD. Of this amount, students took home 60% of their bag's bid price as a reward. The rest of the funds raised were split between the two hosting organizations (Tunapuna Community Council and Patchwerk) to help provide more community projects.


This morning will stay in the hearts and minds of those present for a lifetime. Cycle 2 of Exploring the Arts titled Make the Beat Project starts January 22, 2018*. The program will focus on music and culture by combining cultural analysis and crafting. Participants will investigate the four main cultures that contribute to Trinidadian and Tobagonian music (African, Amerindian, Indian and Spanish) and build decorative traditional instruments associated with each group. The budget for the project will be public January 1, 2018. Patchwerk is looking for local sponsors willing to contribute funds to help buy all the materials needed.**

*The Make the Beat Project has been postponed until Summer 2018

** The Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago is the fiscal sponsor of the Make the Beat Project

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