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Royal Palm Beach artist creates mural for Kenyan school

Mural 'Talking Walls' features Kenyan Wildlife
A man and a woman pose with their arms crossed and backs touching in front of a mural of the Western Kenyan landscape
Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 22:15:39-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A South Florida artist has put her beauty mark on a school across the globe through a cross-cultural collaboration with a painter from western Kenya in hopes to boost creativity among students.

As Claire Salmon works on her next artwork, she told WPTV about her recent visit to the Kijana Global Innovation School in western Kenya, where more than 20 of her designs were realized as big murals called "Talking Walls."

It depicts Kenyan wildlife, the oceans, the rain forest, national parks of Africa and much more.

Murals of Africa painted on the sides of a school building.
Three of the "Talking Walls" murals at the Kijana Global Innovation School.

She said it's a colorful way for her students to learn.

"The children are just so -- they listen and are interested, and they're fascinated by everything going on around them," said Salmon.

Salmon sent her designs to Kenyan artist Jesse Otukho. He painted the murals on the walls.

For Salmon, meeting him for the first time last month was surreal.

"He taught me so much, and it was an incredible experience, and to meet him as well, he's just as lovely in person," said Salmon.

They both held an art camp as the school begins a new art curriculum.

"To take pride in what they do, as we all do," said Salmon. "I think when it's something creative and something emotional on something narrative, it makes him proud of what they're doing, and we're interested. When they're interested and proud of what they're doing, then they're going to do it more. So they're going to learn more and they're going to be happy to learn more."

They'll also be working together in creating an art series of Kijona heros.

"It shows Black role models or Kenyan role models, so the children can see people that look like them that they grow up and aspire to be," said Salmon.