By Sarah Canty
ONE lucky student of Scoil Mhuire NS in Schull will act as ambassador for her school and West Cork in Mexico City next week.
Isobel Lannin and her mother Allison Hodnett will be guests of the Mexican Ambassador to Ireland, Carlos Garcia De Alba, at the opening of an art exhibition featuring works made by the Scoil Mhuire students.
The tapestries that will be on exhibition were part of a history lesson in which students were learning the life story of Wexford-born rogue and adventurer William Lamport.
Under the guidance of teacher Maria Kennedy, the students first described in words the highlights of Lamport’s life which is said to have inspired the stories of El Zorro made popular by present day books and films.
In 1765 Lamport was sent to Mexico by Philip IV, King of Spain, to inspect rumours of rebellion by the indigenous peoples there.
He reportedly changed sides, becoming an important figure in their fight for independence and writer of Mexico’s first constitution.
Local artist Maria Pizzuti guided the Schull children through the process of telling the story through imagery.
She taught them to create the motif tapestries, starting with drawings and ending with a collection of 16 intricate and colourful fabric mosaics.
Because the works are held together, not by stitch, but by two-sided tape, the children have dubbed them ‘tape-estries’.
When the Mexican Ambassador saw the stunning works earlier this year, he was so taken with them, that he invited the students to bring their masterpieces to the embassy in Dublin as part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the birth of William Lamport.
Subsequently, he arranged for the collection to be exhibited in Wexford.
Next week, due to the Ambassador’s sponsorship, the exhibition will visit Mexico.
One of the tapestries, ‘The Astronomer’, lives permanently in Mexico City as it was given to the ambassador as a token of appreciation.
He is said to have chosen it himself because he is interested in astronomy and he liked the stars represented on the piece.
As there were six families interested in representing the school in Mexico, the school needed to draw names to decide which student would go.
Isobel Lannin is proud to have been given this honour to go to Mexico on behalf of her school.
‘I am an ambassador for everybody who worked on this project and am going to make sure everybody in Mexico City knows about our school and village,’ she told The Southern Star.
The exhibition will open on Tuesday October 27th at the Museo de la Cancilleria (the Museum of Historical and Artistic Heritage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in Mexico City.
Wexford TD Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, will also travel to Mexico, to open the exhibition.