Voices on The Wind

An Installation Artwork by Arabella Dorman


The wind can only carry what is lighter than it

Award-winning artist Arabella Dorman presents Voices On The Wind, an installation artwork created out of the thoughts, prayers, poetry and pictures conceived by the pupils of Thomas’s Schools, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pupils share an expression of what they have learnt through this pandemic, what they have come to value, understand, appreciate more deeply, and become more aware of.

These reflections or ‘appreciations’ have been transcribed on to cotton flags in the tradition of Tibetan prayer flags and hung across all five Thomas’s schools.

Collectively, these ‘appreciation’ flags form a powerful expression of endurance, a deepened awareness through adversity, and a shared hope as we emerge from this pandemic into a new beginning.

The wind is us. It gathers and remembers all our voices, then sends them talking and telling through leaves and across fields.

It is believed that the invocations on Tibetan prayer flags are lifted and spread throughout the universe as they flutter in the wind. Everyone who is touched by that wind, is touched by the prayers. The wind spreads the words through the world, extending peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all. By hanging flags in high places the Lung ta or Windhorse will carry the blessings depicted on the flags to all beings.

Conceived by children in response to the pandemic, these appreciations can be seen as beacons of light, each one a candle, born out of darkness, and carried out into the world.

Prayer flags are symbolic too, of The Thomas’s Schools’ and the family’s long standing connection with Nepal that goes back over 60 years. Since 2007 The CAIRN Trust has supported and enhanced the education of children in the hill villages of rural Nepal. Today, now under the auspices of Thomas’s Foundation, CAIRN provides educational bursaries, family mentoring, libraries and quality teacher training. Voices on the Wind echoes this long standing connection between the two communities.


Many messages, One voice

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things. 

By inviting the families to discuss the content that each pupil might like to consider, the spirit of awareness is extended to include many more people than just the children – the families, the friends, the healthy, the suffering - through a collaborative process of re-connection.

In a mixing up of the flags across the schools, the installation will reflect the fact that this pandemic has touched every life, irrespective of borders or boundaries. Pupils’ flags from different year groups and schools will hang next to one another, as individual expressions of a unified message of transformation and hope.

Arabella Dorman

At a time of profound loss and trauma, I have searched for a meaningful response to this
pandemic, and in doing so, have tried to find a way to shift the narrative from what has been lost, to that which endures, and that which might be born out of the broken remains.

Arabella Dorman is an award winning, internationally renowned artist and one of Britain’s leading portrait painters. Arabella’s work explores the realities of conflict today, its immediate impacts and long-term consequences. She worked as an officially accredited war artist in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade, and in more recent years with refugees in Palestine, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

Arabella enjoys a prominent reputation as a public speaker and fundraiser and has recently been awarded Oman Masterpiece 2021. Winner of the Global Mosaic Award 2019, and shortlisted for the Arts & Christianity Awards 2019, Arabella’s installations Flight and Suspended have been globally acclaimed in raising awareness about consequences of war and the forced displacement of people.

If you would like to participate in this project with your school or community, and for further information please contact Arabella at


To see Arabella on The Directory click HERE

To read a blog written by Arabella click HERE

To read more about the Thomas's Foundation and CAIRN and its work in Nepal click HERE