Hundreds of mini portraits greet the viewer when they stand in front of two imposing new artworks temporarily housed in Kapiti College's hall.

But if you walk back and view them from a distance, the artworks dramatically morph into film maker Sir Peter Jackson and the second into Jean Andrews, who had a significant role hosting American servicemen in Paekakariki during World War II, and who had a close connection with Kapiti College.

The optical illusion artworks, which will feature in the atrium of the Kapiti Performing Arts Centre, were created last week by 650 primary school pupils, 80 college helpers and professional artists Rebekah Codlin, from Picton, and Matt Gauldie, from Otaki.

The children created 1300 hand-sized portraits, in crayon, of each other, before the tiles, in six tones of blue, were assembled by the professional artists, like a giant jigsaw, onto two large boards each 3.6m wide by 2.4m high.

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At one of the workshops were two of Jean's great grandchildren - Taliyah Farrell, 13, and Markyrious Farrell, 11, who go to Paekakariki School.

SPECIAL MOMENT: Taliyah Farrell, 13, and Markyrious Farrell, 11, took part in an art project which features a relative of theirs.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Taliyah Farrell, 13, and Markyrious Farrell, 11, took part in an art project which features a relative of theirs.

And at a blessing on Sunday in the hall was Karl Farrell, who is Jean's son.

He was going to tend to her grave in Queen Elizabeth Park, to mark her 102nd birthday, but instead came to the hall to see the supersize image of her.

"It's overwhelming," he said.

Matt, who has been the official New Zealand Army Artist for 12 years, said the project had been "an amazing experience".

Rebekah, 22, said, "I'm really blown away how it has come together.

"It represents the coming together of the whole community."

The It's OK To Paint People project was organised by the Kapiti Kids Motivation Trust.