All posts tagged: The Gambia

Shout (and love) To The Pangolin and ROA

Shout (and love) To The Pangolin and ROA

Pangolin Smuggling!

A recent article in The New York Times caught our attention this week and it made us think about Street Artist ROA, and his many paintings in the street depicting them.

ROA. Pangolin. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

The article reported that 9 tons of pangolins scales had been seized in Hong Kong, the scales were hidden under slabs of frozen meat on a cargo ship en route to Vietnam. The most frequently trafficked mammal in the world, the Pangolin suffers when it’s killed for its scales – believed to be a cure for cancer or asthma, among other things.

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are not as well known to audiences worldwide but we thought we’d give this darling of a mammal a shout out today and in the process bring attention to the plight of our planet.

When are we going to stop destroying ourselves by destroying our natural resources? Everything we do creates an impact.

ROA. Pangolin. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

Back in 2014 we published an article with a photo diary by Belgian artist ROA. He had traveled for several months from Brazil to The Gambia with stops in Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Rome. Here is what he had to say about his experience in The Gambia with the pangolin:

“I’ve painted a pangolin before in The Gambia but being back there and having read so much during the past year about the illegal trafficking of pangolins – to be served as exotic food or mostly as a ‘medicine’, I needed to paint them again.

Indian pangolin defending itself against Asiatic lions (from Wikipedia)

“Firstly, the so-called medical qualities of the ground-up scales are disputed and “the animals are currently on the list of endangered species because of the trafficking and the loss of habitat by deforestation in Africa,” explains ROA.

He notes that one of their unique attempts to protect themselves is to reconfigure their appearance.  “They can roll up into a ball to defend themselves,” he says.

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BSA’s Piece on “Submerged Motherlands” Acclaimed for Year

BSA’s Piece on “Submerged Motherlands” Acclaimed for Year

BSA with Swoon at Brooklyn Museum Sited by Huff Post Editors as Proud Moment of 2014

We’re very pleased and thankful to be included in this short list chosen by the editors of Huffington Post Arts & Culture as a story they are most proud of publishing last year.

In her introduction to the list, editor Katherine Brooks writes:

“It turns out, 365 days is hard to summarize in anything but a laundry list of seemingly disparate phenomena, filled with the good — woman-centric street art, rising Detroit art scenes, spotlights on unseen American art– and the bad less than good — holiday butt plugs, punching bags by Monet, Koonsmania. But, as a New Year dawns, we found ourselves just wanting to focus on the things that made us beam with pride in 2014. So we made a list of those things, a list of the pieces we’re proud of.”

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Describing why we thought this was an important story for us we wrote:

“We loved a lot of stories this year, but this hometown Brooklyn one about a street artist with humanity mounting her first solo major museum exhibition was a special turning point — and an astounding success. For us street art is a conversation, a continuum of expression, and Swoon is always a part of it. From following her street career to her transition to international fame to witnessing this exhibition coming to fruition in person in the months leading up to the Brooklyn Museum show, it is easy to understand why Swoon still remains a crucial part of the amazing street art scene and continues to set a standard.”

-Jaime Rojo & Steven Harrington, HuffPost Arts&Culture bloggers and co-founders of Brooklyn Street Art

In fact, we wrote 48 articles that were published on the Huffington Post in 2014, and as a collection we hope they further elucidate the vast and meaningful impact that the Street Art / graffiti / urban art movement continues to have on our culture, our public space, and our arts institutions.

Together that collection of articles published by BSA on Huffpost in ’14 spanned the globe including stories from Malaysia, Poland, Spain, France, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, New York, Arizona, The Navajo Nation, Philadelphia, Sweden, Istanbul, New Jersey, Lisbon, The Gambia, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Rome, India, Italy, Delhi (India), Montreal, San Francisco, London, Coachella, Chicago, Kabul (Afghanistan), and Kiev (Ukraine).

Here on BSA we published another 320 postings (more or less).

We thank you for allowing us to share these inspirational and educational stories with you and we are honored to be able to continue the conversation with artists, art fans, collectors, curators, academics, gallerists, museums, and arts institutions. Our passion for Street Art and related movements is only superceded by our love for the creative spirit, and we are happy whenever we encounter it.

Our published articles on HuffPost in 2014, beginning with the most recent:

 

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ROA Photo Diary : Taking a Wild Kingdom to Global Streets

ROA Photo Diary : Taking a Wild Kingdom to Global Streets

New Images from Brazil, The Gambia, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Rome

We check in today with the ever evolving itinerary of the singularly nomadic Street Art urban naturalist named ROA. The well known and respected aerosol painter hails from Ghent in Belgium but he is rarely there these days, so busy is he introducing his monochromatic pictorials of the marginalized animal world. Despite the immense variety of his subjects that are reflective of the local population, ROA’s style is unmistakeable, as is his choice of difficult and imperfect surfaces on which to paint.  Some times his subject is playful or alert, other times they are in a struggle, still others are dead or dessicated; paying full respect to the cycle of life and death.

As if to remind us of our own sorry impact, once in a while they are ensnared and suffering in our unthinking detritus.  Not surprisingly, a number of the animals are endangered and his painting can often take on an environmental advocacy as a result.

Here we travel with ROA through six countries to see where he has been painting and to learn a little about the environment that these new stars of the street have debuted upon.

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ROA. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

The Gambia, Africa

On his third visit to The Gambia for the WOW festival, ROA had the opportunity to paint a yellow caterpillar, a flying serpent, the Pinned Scarabée and some pangolins in the villages of Kembujeh and Galloya. He says, “I will be back, it’s amazing” and would like to thank all the folks who live in those villages as well as the organizer of WOW, Lawrence.

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ROA. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

“I’ve painted a pangolin before in The Gambia but being back there and having read so much during the past year about the illegal trafficking of pangolins – to be served as exotic food or mostly as a ‘medicine’, I needed to paint them again. Firstly, the so-called medical qualities of the ground-up scales are disputed and “the animals are currently on the list of endangered species because of the trafficking and the loss of habitat by deforestation in Africa,” explains ROA. He notes that one of their attempts to protect themselves is to reconfigure their appearance.  “They can roll up into a ball to defend themselves,” he says.

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ROA. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. A yellow caterpillar in The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

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ROA plays with your eye in this two room installation of a skeletal remains in Brazil. (photo © Roa)

Brazil, South America

In the past few months ROA has been to Brazil twice, and neither time to see the World Cup. Instead he has been backpacking around and doing “many small interventions in between beautiful beaches.” While the insects in some of these paintings are originally small, their final scale on the walls are definitely not.

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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A rare near-optical piece by ROA, this microscopic milieu will be familiar to any kid who attended Biology class. Aside from the factual and the metaphorical, these fellas have a dropped shadow, giving the scene added dimension in Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Brazil. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Perth. (photo © Roa)

Perth, Australia

While participating in Form’s PUBLIC festival, ROA painted a serpent eating his own tail; a design that refers to ouroboros, an ancient mythological symbol. He says that Australian aboriginal people believe “the serpent has a great symbolic value as ‘The Rainbow Serpent.’ “.

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“Also for PUBLIC in Wolf Lane I painted an Australian possum,” says ROA of this piece in Perth. (photo © Roa)

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ROA.  Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo © Roa)

Christchurch, New Zealand

While painting the facade of the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch for the RISE festival, ROA decided to mix the dead with the living – “It’s a MOA skeleton with a kiwi!” he says. He explains that the moa was native to New Zealand, and flightless (like the kiwi), but the moa died out after humans settled the region.

In fact the Canterbury museum has a large collection of moa bones and skeletons and ROA understands that the museum is said to swap bones with other natural history museums to enlarge their own varied and large collection. One legend, according to the artist, “goes that they swapped some moa bones for the mummy they exhibit.

The site of the painting here has particular significance to the people of Christchurch as only a few years ago in 2010 and 2011 the city suffered serious and damaging earthquakes and almost 200 people died near here. The actual museum was well protected, but many buildings were heavily damaged and survivors still speak “about post-eartquake times, characterized by change and more social awareness,” he says, making this museum, “a very special place to be.”

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Inside the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch Roa painted this penguin on the ceiling. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Nelson, New Zealand. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Nelson, New Zealand. (photo © Roa)

Nelson, New Zealand

Roa would like to extend his thanks to Eelco and Ali from The Free House, as well as George and Shannon for his time in Nelson.

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ROA. Nelson, New Zealand. (photo © Roa)

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ROA. Dunedin, New Zealand. (photo © Roa)

Dunedin, New Zealand

“I painted a tuatara in Dunedin,” he says, of the indigenous reptile.

ROA would like to say thanks to Justin and Luke for their hospitality.

 

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ROA. Tenerife, Spain. (photo © Roa)

Tenerife, Spain

“At the invitation of the MUECA festival in Puerto de La Cruz, I painted my first large scale insect wall!” exclaims ROA, who looks for ways to keep challenging himself. He says that this was a composition that included,  “Lots of different little creatures to paint,” which was rather demanding, but he didn’t mind too much because, “it was a beautiful environment and atmosphere.”

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ROA. Riga. (photo © Roa)

Riga, Spain

There was a lot of bad weather in Riga during the Blank Canvas festival that ROA participated in, but “I got to paint the hedgehog and hopefully I will be back there soon to paint more,” he remarks.

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ROA. Rome. (photo © Roa)

ROME, Italy

Finally, we end our tour with ROA in the famous city of Rome, where he visited for the very first time. He says that it is a “wonderful city” and he painted this wolf “referencing the legend of the founding of the city.”

Roa extends his thanks to Stefano and Francesca of 999 in Rome.

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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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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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Wide Open Walls: Logan Hicks Post Game Gambia

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Logan is now back in chilly Brooklyn and looking over some of his images of beautiful weather, beautiful people, and painting in The Gambia. Now that the seven artists have returned back, the stories have returned with them. One thing for sure is that they all treasured the kids, and that the locals appreciated the art.  In addition to being a stencil artist, Logan is also a talented photographer and he shares some images here with you.

Local Kids. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Local kids had different reactions to the appearance of the camera, and were very interested in the visiting artists. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Eelus (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Eelus updated his hit “Raven Haired” with this version just for the WOW project. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Mysterious Al reckons his work (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Mysterious Al reckons his work. Think he should add a little purple? (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Broken Crow at work with fans (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Broken Crow continues under close supervision. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Lucy McLauchlan Birds (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Lucy McLauchlan painted a couple of birds on this fence. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Broken Crow piece on a hut (Photo © Logan Hicks)
Broken Crow left one of their lions on a home (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Lucy McLauchlan collaboration with local kids. The kids did the faces. (Photo © Logan Hicks)
Lucy McLauchlan created this collaboration with local kids at their school. She did the sunshine and they did the faces. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Xens takes a brake to chat with the locals. (Photo © Logan Hicks)
Xenz takes a break from the birds on the wire to chat with new pals. (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Xenz Trompe L'oeil (Photo © Logan Hicks)
Xenz got site-specific with this Trompe L’oeil (Photo © Logan Hicks)

Xenz and Logan Hicks collaboration (Photo © Logan Hicks)
Xenz doing his bit on a collaboration with and Logan Hicks  (Photo © Logan Hicks)

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(all images © Logan Hicks)

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Wide Open Walls Ends: The Stories Begin

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Gambia-Diaries-Wow-Oct22010Wide Open Walls officially ends today, and the artists are on their way home. “All the UK artists fly back tomorrow, we all expect a heroes welcome, keys to the country and an open top bus parade,” Says Eelus on his Twitter account.

It has been a trip they won’t forget, and we are hearing bits and pieces about the experience as they return. – Large Insects, lots of DEET, optimistic kids, incredibly lush beauty, crushing heat, and enthusiastic fans watching you while you paint; all of these things reoccur in the retelling of the stories. Eelus hurt his heel just at the end of the journey and is looking forward to resting up and sorting through pictures. Logan Hicks is back in Brooklyn and will be showing us some of his pics, along with a video he’s working on.

Here are some shots from Ian Cox and some observations of the experience.

Broken Crow at work (Photo © Ian Cox)
Broken Crow at work (Photo © Ian Cox)

“The aim of the game is to paint as much as you can before 1pm, trying to do anything after that is a sweaty struggle in this ridiculous heat and humidity.” ~ Eelus

Mysterious Al Tag. (Photo ©  Ian Cox)
Mysterious Al Tag. (Photo © Ian Cox)

Mysterious Al caught a few tags and a few mosquito bites too, and contends that DEET soaked mosquito spray repellent actually removes tattoos.

“Rashes, welts, bites and hives. My body is 90% covered in them. Why would I get bitten on the elbow? I don’t know, but it’s happened. I’ve also crushed a snail the size of a tennis-ball, seen spiders the size of dinner plates (almost) and encountered all manner of vile insects that are straight out of the ravine scene in that King Kong remake.” ~ Mysterious Al from the WOW blog.

Logan Hicks Stencils (Photo © Ian Cox)
Logan Hicks Stencils (Photo © Ian Cox)

“If the apocalypse comes, I don’t think the fat f*ckers that are sitting around in their lazy-boy recliners with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other are going to be the ones that survive. It’s going to be the Gambians” ~ the eloquent Logan Hicks

Xenz at work (Photo © Ian Cox)
Xenz at work (Photo © Ian Cox)

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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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