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Egyptian wall painting
Students of the Helsinki School of Special Painting created an Egyptian wall painting on the wall of a theory classroom as a demonstration of professional skills.
Suitable shades and gloss level were found in the water-borne Feelings Interior Paint, which produces a velvety matt surface that endures cleaning. Altogether 20 liters of paint was used, and about a dozen shades.
"The students were using a photocopy of a book, so the colors cannot, of course, be very close to the original. But since it was not possible to go see the original with a color atlas, the shades had to be selected visually," tells Reija Haapaniemi, Class Teacher, who supervised the work.
Anubis and Isis hand to the deceased the Ankh, the symbol of life.
The wall of the classroom is concrete, rolled many times before. The roller marks were screeded twice and then painted twice in ocher with brush technique. The patterns were enlarged from the photo copies using the traditional grid method, and they were painted 1–2 times depending on the coverage of the paint. Each student had their own "zone" to work in.
Traditional decorations with modern technique
The students of the painting program will graduate next spring. The demonstration of professional skills consisted of a test on theory and the wall painting, where the task was to produce traditional decorative painting with modern products. They had seven days to complete the task. Before deciding about the style 5,000 years old, the students learned about different artistic periods of buildings in Helsinki.
Vilma Kauppinen finishing her share of the wall painting, which required both meticulousness and patience.
The school is located in Helsinki – in the middle of an industrial environment – in a building which most resembles the box style of 1960s. According to the teacher, the modern artistic periods, after functionalism, lack decorative styles. She finds that modern buildings are best matched with decorations far enough in time. Renaissance or baroque were out of the question.
"Finland lacks the decorative world designed for modern buildings, and developing that would be a great challenge for skillful painters, as well as for the designers of the industry. While waiting for the new decoration culture, we realized that the design language of the Egyptian period and earthy color world are surprisingly suitable for decorative painting of modern buildings," states Reija Haapaniemi.
Egyptian course of life on the wall
The wall painting is not just any sporadically copied patterns of pyramids, but extracts of the Book of the Dead, which provides instructions for the departed. The journey of a deceased Egyptian to afterlife was no simple process. The students have depicted the stages in their demonstration work, which will remain as a decoration on the classroom wall.
According to Wikipedia, the Book of the Dead used in Egypt described the concept of afterlife. Egyptians believed that after death the soul transfers to the afterlife, where the deceased travels a dangerous journey to the gods for the weighing of the heart. The deceased was equipped for the journey with food, furniture, and other utility articles placed into the grave, and a guidebook was also included. The Book of the Dead was not just hieroglyphs, but its illustration told about the dangers of the journey, and sometimes also the deceased facing these dangers.
The 2D graders of the Helsinki School of Special Painting, with Ra's wings in front. The wall painting continues many meters in both directions.
Text and photos: Arja Schadewitz