Wide Open Walls: The Gambia Diaries

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The Street Artists have arrived in The Gambia

Near the giant river of Senegal the seven visiting Street Artists are unpacked and acclimated for two weeks (October 12-26) of painting. With a welcome from Lawrence Williams, artist and co-founder of WOW (Wide Open Walls) and of a huge ecological and cultural project in the area of Makasutu, they’re blown away with the natural beauty and enthusiastic hospitality.

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With UK Street Artist Eelus as the curator and local artist collective Bushdwellers as hosts, the team is ready; Lucy McLauchlan, Logan Hicks, Mysterious Al, Broken Crow (John Grider and Mike Fitzsimmons), and Xenz. Also on board is photographer Ian Cox who will capture as much of the action as possible in such a spread-out project covering many towns.

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The visiting Street Artists first met with village chiefs of local towns to discuss the project, it’s scope, and the various spots that artists will be getting up on. In stark contrast to the rough and tumble reception a Street Artist may encounter in gritty metropolitan areas in other parts of the world, a true spirit of welcoming has greeted the artists from the leaders of the 14 towns. With the intention of encouraging greater tourism and improving the local economy, the initial transformation plan was primarily for the village of Kubuneh but now includes others in the Ballabu area.

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“The optimism that exists here is hard to explain,” says Brooklyn Street Artist Logan Hicks, who has been pretty blown away by the experience so far and also by the open welcoming kids, many of whom he captured with his camera. “It’s odd going to a country where the kids are happy to just see you – I am so use to the New York way of life.”

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He’s also quick to note the very little they have in material wealth, and is glad that his Street Art work will help draw attention and hopefully money to the local towns. Says Logan, “The other day we had this big meeting with the village chiefs from the surrounding villages. All 14 chiefs were in attendance in their traditional gear, so it was a pretty big deal. But what floored me was that these villages were actually fighting over which village we should paint first!”brooklyn-street-art-The-Gambia-Diaries-logan-hicks-10-10-1-web

With “The Gambia Diaries”, BSA will be bringing you regular updates and exclusive images (like these from Mr. Hicks ) over the course of WOW.

You can participate! If you have questions you’d like to ask the artists, please email us at Gambia@BrooklynStreetArt.com.

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For now, take a look at some of these great images of folks from the area and pray for Logan to have the courage to sleep in his jungle lodge!  He’s seems like such a big brutish headbanger, but he contends that there are lizards and spiders the size of his hand back at the lodge. We don’t have those back in Brooklyn, although sometimes the rats in the subway tracks are as big as cats. Good luck Logan!

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http://wideopenwalls.wordpress.com/

http://www.makasutu.com/

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