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Our top design student makes her mark in the city

Gabriella Lidstone White, 18, a top Year 13 student at our college has spent much of her school holidays designing and spray painting a mural on the hoardings outside the Central City library.

Gaby was inspired by street artists Banksy and New Zealander Component to undertake the work for her final year Graphic Design portfolio, which had a theme of social activism. As part of her research, she met with Component to talk about how he uses art to channel political messages.

Gaby’s over-sized painting explores themes of utopias and dystopias and how cities can be part of a sustainable future or, equally, a destructive force. Trees surrounded by spotlights symbolise the way technology and infrastructure are overtaking nature and green spaces and the picture is dominated by a portrait of one of her classmates. “It shows a young person’s face because it’s up to young people to help make the future better for the next generations,” she explains. “The cityscape is emerging from her head to remind us that the answers are in our minds.”

Gaby spent weeks designing the mural, printing three huge stencils and cutting them out by hand, before commencing the spray painting.

“I have been really impressed with how Gaby has taken on this complex and ambitious project,” said Design Teacher Vanessa Narbey. “She is extremely bright and highly talented so I knew she would cope with the challenge. It’s great to see her large scale street art idea completed outside the library. I like how the city is merging from the portrait’s head looks like an elaborate crown. It has taken Gaby weeks of planning to get the final result to look so resolved.”

Gaby is undertaking the project as part of her final submission for her Cambridge curriculum Graphic Design A-levels, due later this month. Next year she hopes to study Architecture at university.

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