Swindon’s long term connection with its Central American twin, Ocotal in Nicaragua, was strengthened in October with a three week visit by artist Patricio Marin, sponsored by Swindon Ocotal Link (SOL).
Patricio, 31, conveyed fraternal greetings from his town to the Mayor of Swindon, met artists in the town, took in the sights of Swindon and London, and visited schools.
The self taught painter spent a week at Lydiard Park Academy creating a mural and talking to pupils in Spanish.
Head of languages Eileen Mochan said Patricio had enriched the life of the school. “Patricio was a great ambassador for Ocotal and a truly talented artist. The pupils were mesmerised by his work; large numbers would gather during break times and lunch to see him creating a beautiful mural.
“We have all gained a wider knowledge of Nicaragua, its culture, customs, beauty and landscape. We’re willing participants in linking our academy with the secondary school in Ocotal.”
Year 10 pupil Eleanor Keene said: “It’s amazing how much detail Patricio has included and it’s really cool how he’s joined the flags coming out of the steam engine and from the smoke of the volcano.”
Nathan Ellmer added: “The picture is very realistic and shows the relationship between the different towns. Nicaragua looks an interesting place.”
Headteacher Clive Zimmerman thanked Patricio for his work and presented him with a plaque and letters from academy pupils to children at Leonardo Matute School. “It’s a fantastic painting which demonstrates Patricio’s skill and is a wonderful reminder of his visit, and a link we plan to forge with the school in Ocotal.”
Patricio said he was honoured to have the opportunity to visit Swindon and grateful for the kindness and encouragement he received from the SOL members and Lydiard Park Academy.
SOL has worked with an Ocotal committee for 25 years and raises money to help fund educational burseries, health services and a home for the elderly. New members interested in joining SOL are asked to mail Bruce Clarke: email@example.com
Pictured top: Patricio with Lydiard Park Academy pupils in front of his mural which includes visual references to Swindon, Wiltshire and Nicaragua and portrays the link between Swindon and Ocotal. Below, with members of the Swindon Ocotal Link committee.
Below, detail of Patricio’s mural taken by Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com