Pupils in Edinburgh have revealed a giant playground mural inspired by the work of famous artist and Leith born former pupil, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.

The Paolozzi-inspired playground pop art was officially unveiled by the artist’s sister, Yolanda Tartaglia and attended by City Education Leader Cllr Marilyne MacLaren.

The mural is based on mosaic, screen printing, pop art and collage art work by three of the children at the school (Elise Kemp P2, Unzala Ali P6 and Lizzie Robertson-Grier, P7) and took more than two days to transfer onto the playground wall in spray paint by graffiti artist Danny McDermott.

The mural was created as part of a joint project between Leith Walk Primary School and Newhaven Advertising Agency, whose building backs onto the playground.

City Education Leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said:-“We want to encourage and inspire creativity in all our learners, and this amazingly detailed mural is a wonderful example of this. The children have created a very personal and fitting tribute to one of Edinburgh’s most famous sons.”

Leith Walk Primary Head teacher, Stewart Crabb said:-“Through learning about our famous former pupil, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, all the children in the school have been inspired to create their own visual interpretation of his work – based on his own pioneering techniques.

“We’re delighted that Ms Tartaglia was with us to open this permanent tribute to her brother’s creativity and achievement, which we hope will continue to inspire children in the school for generations to come.”

Gareth Howells, Director of Newhaven Communications, said:-“I was reading about Sir Eduardo Paolozzi being a former Leith Walk Primary pupil and a light bulb went off overhead. I thought it would be a nice, neighbourly thing to do to donate the wall-space facing the playground and turn it into a Paolozzi-inspired mural.

“The thinking behind this unique project and extra special mural is to educate and inspire the kids. And hopefully one day, we could be hiring the next Paolozzi to work at Newhaven.”

To mark the event, pupils at the school have prepared an exhibition called ‘The Life and Work of Paolozzi’.

This Paolozzi figure sits outside The British Library in London

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) was a Scottish sculptor and artist. He was founder of the Independent Group in 1952 – regarded as a precursor to both the British and American Pop Art moments.

Some of his most famous works include ‘I was a Rich Man’s Plaything’ (1947), the mosaic patterned walls of the Tottenham Court Road tube station in London (1984) and ‘The Manuscript of Monte Casino’, an open palm, a section of limb and a human foot, located on Leith Walk.

The scaffolding required to paint the mural was donated by J.G Martin Plant Hire Ltd and erected by Westmill Construction.


  1. Well done to the children and staff of Leith Walk Primary School for celebrating a magnificant artist. I look forward to seeing the mural the next time I visit Edinburgh.

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