ROA in Mexico, Gambia, and Cambodia

Globetrotting the Man-Made World, Listening to the Natural One

It’s sort of unprecedented to see how far ROA has gone this year, and how much work he has done. When people say that well-worn phrase “catching up with _____”, in his case you’d be out of breath. Here is a Street Artist who has very effectively escaped the street, an introvert traveling quietly in the extroverted world, with open eyes and an acute talent for observation; decoding the universe through study of the natural, and unnatural.

Today we debut new images taken by ROA from his travels in 2012 to three continents, leaving his footprints in the soil in villages and towns, studying creatures and the humans around them. As soon as he arrives at his host country he shakes hands of the people and smiles and sets his mind to observe his surroundings, taking interest in what roams free on the ground. He asks about available walls and when possible he selects a perfect one – the more imperfect the wall somehow the more perfect for him. From there it’s a simpler matter of immortalizing the critters and creatures that are all around and usually overlooked.

ROA here gives BSA readers these exclusive images of his travels to Cambodia, The Gambia, and Mexico with some of his observations, and we thank him.

MEXICO

In his second trip to Mexico City, ROA powerfully depicted struggle that commands attention across a large wall. “The snake with rats in her tail strangled. And as Jaime knows, the snake is very important for the pre-hispanic culture in Mexico,” says ROA.

ROA. Mexico City. All City Canvas Festival. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Cholula, Mexico 2012 (photo © ROA)

“Cholula is legendary known for the 365 churches to celebrate every day another saint,” ROA says in reference to this city in Puebla. Legendary is the right word, as there are actually only about 160 chapels in the town and surrounding haciendas, but the powerful influence of the Catholic Church here may account for the impression that there is one for each day of the year.

ROA. Cholula, Mexico 2012 (photo © ROA)

THE GAMBIA, AFRICA

ROA. Makumbaya, The Gambia. 2012. (photo © ROA)

ROA. Bakau, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

“This was my second visit to the Makasutu Forest, The Gambia,” ROA explains as he describes getting his camera and computer stolen after his last trip – where many of the photos from that trip were lost. Thankfully he had retained some of his images from that trip, and here they are.  “The choice of the animals was mostly inspired by the moment; I would walk there and see a beatle, toad, lizard, .. and just paint it. The mosquito is the insect that has the biggest impact on the people’s daily conditions and health,” he says.

ROA. Kubuneh, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Kubuneh, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Roaming Cows, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Gunjur Beach, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Galoya, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Galoya, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Galoya, The Gambia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. The Gambia. 2011 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Galoya, The Gambia. 2011 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Babooms, Galoya, The Gambia. 2011 (photo © ROA)

CAMBODIA

Here on the invitation of  TheSk8Room (Bruxelles) ROA also gave some workshops to local youth, and had the opportunity to create something special for the tower of a school in Phnom Peng called Pour un sourire d’enfant (PSE).

“Because we spent time in the jungle near Vietnam two days before, I chose to paint a firefly. After sunset we hiked up the hill and we got to see hundreds of them in the middle of the tropics. Magical!” , he exclaims. He says that the firefly is important because  light pollution threatens her existence as that is the method fireflies use to communicate with one another.  “They produce with their lower body a yellow/green luminescent light, and cancer researchers observing them have posited the possibility that they would could kill cancer cells. They are very magical bugs!”

ROA. Sakateistan, Cambodia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Kep, Cambodia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Kep, Cambodia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA. Kep, Cambodia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

“During our two days stay in the forest we visited Kep,” says ROA remembering his time in the small town near Vietnam. “It  once functioned as the “French Riviera” of Cambodia, and you can see this in the villas they left behind, evidence of the former wealth of the area.” Unfortunately, many of the villas were destroyed during the time of the Khmer Rouge, he says. “Nowadays they are shelters for homeless people and for roaming animals.”

ROA. Kep, Cambodia. 2012 (photo © ROA)

ROA wishes to thank the following people:

Gonzalo, Roberto, and Jalil, Jesus and Francisco in Mexico City. All City Canvas.

Christian Milamores in Cholula, Puebla.

Lawrence at Wide Open Walls, The Gambia.

The people at TheSk8Room (Bruxelles) for inviting him to visit Cambodia.

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