I painted this mural to demonstrate Parys’s support of the #ImStaying movement and by inference all things positive. Take hands with the forward thinkers, the believers, the dreamers and those that show up to get stuff done. Align yourself with the positive, see the endless possibility of hope, and the greatness of us all working together as one. ABOUT A fleet of planes shows people leaving South Africa. As a parting gift, they are throwing out Strelitzia flowers (S.A.’s National Flower *), which implies that they’re leaving behind their heritage. The kids standing on the runway suggest the future of South Africa. HELPERS: Forty-six square meters is a daunting area to paint! All-in-all it took seven weeks to complete. Thank you to my painting buddies: Selma, Mariaan, Heloïse, Jo-Marié, Linda, Aaron and Thomas. Tx to my artist wife Karin for the technical advice. SPONSORS: A big shout out to all the sponsors that made this project possible. A board listing all the sponsors is in production and will be mounted alongside the mural soon. I have to highlight a few, though La Oma Butchery and Rus & Vrede on Vaal for sending their staff to do a site cleanup. Stef from Renov Paints is a paint wizard, his in-depth knowledge is exceptional, and I highly recommend them. Botes Sand went above and beyond in their support of this project. They also provided the best plaster sand the plasterers have ever worked with (in their own words) and are by far the cheapest. The guys from Namgola situated alongside the painting were super helpful and allowed me on three occasions to plug in my extensions at their offices throughout the night. Also a big thank you to Ras, Claudia and Crater Coffees for borrowing their extensions to make it to the painting. Crater Coffees sponsored coffee and ice cream for all the helpers and Liquor City Parys sponsored cold drinks. The sponsors – Guesthouses: Boom 69, Casa Cara, Egweni, Kondensmelk, La Splendia, Lavender Place, Le Grand Chateau, River Rock, Rus en Vrede on Vaal, Stonehenge in Africa, The French Affaire, The Purple Pillow, Waterfront, Woodlands. Businesses: Botes Sand, Dog & Fig Brewery, It’s Ink Printers, Jolaine Woodcraft, La Oma Butchery, Liquor City Parys, Nommer Asseblief, Petit Jardin, Pickled Pig, River Spa, The PQube Way, Wesley’s Parys, Willie Hallaby Loodgieters. Private: Gary & Amanda, Leida Schuman, Reinet Joubert, Zelda Nel Bezuidenhout. Shops: Anything Beautiful, Crater Coffees, Elineze Kuns, L.Design Group SA, Matsimela Home Spa, The Garden. * Yes the Strelitzia is South Africa’s “original” National Flower. Later the King Protea was added. Currently, both are acknowledged as National Flowers of S.A. I had to phone a friend who confirmed this with the South African Nursery Association (tx Sanette Henderson.) HIGHLIGHTS As I was painting, I had two noticeable interactions. The first was a lady that stopped and said she was visiting Parys for the holidays, and when she first saw the painting, she burst into tears. She cannot quite explain why and she wanted to share that with me. Later a guy stopped with his family. He said he just had to share his story with me. He grew up in Parys, and he had brought his daughters this weekend to come and show them where. As he entered Parys, he saw me painting the aeroplanes with the kids. The bizarre thing is, he said, as a boy, I came to this exact park with my friends, not 20 meters from your painting to fly those small aeroplanes attached to a string. This painting brought back so many memories the instant I saw it; it could have been about our group of friends with our planes all those years ago!