- 1000 cans of paint. 8 artists. 2 weeks. 1 Village. Welcome to Wide Open Walls, an Art Safari. Please subscribe and follow us on this amazing project that begins 12th October 2010.
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If you happen to be in The Gambia on Friday night, Bushdwellers have the opening to their first Solo show at Alliance Francaise on Kairaba Avenue. Make sure you stop by and check it out!
– goats make sounds that are similar to the wailing death cry of a small child
– dying children make the sounds of living goats
– to fend off mosquitos you need to use a 95% Deet spray which feels like someone is slowly sanding your skin off.
– If the locals don’t do it, you probably shouldn’t do it either
– its possible to drink 6 liters of water and only piss one once
– organization can be more of a concept than a practiced regiment
– When meeting someone, it is acceptable to take the time they tell you to meet them, change it to whatever time you want and show up 2 hours after that.
– JulBrew is great
– there is more hand shaking in Gambia than at an epileptic convention
– I thought i was a tough guy until i saw a tiny woman carrying 100 lbs on her head, while holding her baby and smiling at visitors and realizing that she does that probably 18 hours a day, every day.
– If the apocalypse comes, I don’t think the fat fuckers 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
– being in a foreign land, in a country that is remote and challenging is the quickest way to bond with other like minded people.
– If you can’t make it yourself, you probably can’t buy it either.
– in a country where the temperature hovers around 100 degrees, with 90 percent humidity, nobody is in a rush.
– walking in wet shoes really really sucks. It sucks even more when you didn’t bring another pair of shoes to change into.
– Daily living should not be a challenge
– baboons are like a pack of feral children that got drunk and learned how to climb trees and steal shit really well.
– it is very difficult to force baboons fight each other with knives
– 95% Deet also melts the plastic of your sunglasses, it makes your skin turn red, makes your body feel like it being continually bathed in pure rubbing alcohol and I am pretty sure my future children will now be born with 5 eyes and 3 legs
– Snails grow the size of baseballs, and they are not fun to step on
– Ants are capable of swarming on snakes, kittens and other small animals and biting the life out of them. I am pretty sure that i saw them swarm together and make a pointing arrow like they do in the bugs bunny cartoons where the swarm of bees are chasing bugs and they come together and point in the direction they think he went
– if you see vendors in the ‘african markets’ unpacking boxes of ‘african sculptures’ and they are coming out of a ‘made in china’ box, they are probably not authentic.
– When buying meat, it probably should not come from a vendor that lets it sit outside in the 100+ heat, next to an open sewer for hours while he swats the flys off of it.
– regardless of what the host tells you, swimming in the river that has large fish, croc, and things that could swim up your pee hole is probably not a great idea
– when you begin to get chills in 100 degree weather, you are getting ready to have a heat stroke.
– many times it would be faster to give a guy a message and have him courier it on a 3 legged horse than use the internet in Gambia
– Gambian guys seem to really like white girls and old white women that hang out on the beach seem to be happy to reciprocate the attraction.
– Gambian children have an unfettered optimism that i have not seen elsewhere in the world.
– it is much easier to eat healthy when you have an amazing chef making your meals morning, noon, and night
– water tastes amazing when your life depends on drinking large quantities of it
– Gambia is much more fun when you are not sopping wet
– I think i’d like to come back one day
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. Here’s some more photos from the front line.
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.
From the villages we’ve visited so far, It’s clear that Gambian people are very sociable, and happy to embrace foreigners into their daily lives. The residents of Kubuneh; a village we’ve been painting a lot, are always smiling. They live to simple means, but are rightly very proud of their village.
Since I’ve been in Africa I’ve tried to embrace the environment that surrounds me when making work. This is difficult when the environment has 90% humidity, is baking hot, and is trying to eat me alive.
I’ve been painting patterns on small huts, logs, leaves and trees… But today Xens and I painted a proper obnoxious London banger… The villagers loved it (sort of).
Aside the rashes covering my skin, and the 100% Deet insect repellant actually removing parts of my tattoos (seriously), the thing I’ll take away from Africa is a sense of overwhelming positivity and community from its helpful, astute and incredibly charming residents.
It just goes to show how beautiful a community can be without getting fucked up by ridiculous shit like blackberry, stupid television shows, twitter and TV. God I miss that shit.
– Mysterious Al.
We’re now very happy to have the amazing photographic talents of Ian Cox from Wallkandy with us and he’s been doing a top job documenting the goings on in Kubuneh village. Here’s a few of his snaps from the village.
I now understand what WOW means, I’m not gonna tell you because its better if you find out yourself, but what I will say is it’s amazing but you could probably have guessed that so if you’re still reading I’ll tell you about today….Me and Eelus got in a jeep and went to a school in a remote village (Makumbaya) where we were greeted by hundreds and hundreds of children just going absolutely BONKERS! Its hard to overstate how happy these kids were; Everyone asking ‘hello’, ‘what’s your name?’, ‘how are you?’ and shaking our hand, it was really good . Anyway, it pans out that I end up painting a quick map of the Gambia on the school wall but I only had a text book from the 90s to copy the river and with the assistance of the teachers we managed to get a rough renditon of the map on the wall whilst demonstrating how art is brilliant and can be fun. But…. I only had a few colours and only had a fat cap, one that sprays paint fast in a thick line, the kind I like using when im drunk in the dark, the kind I use when I don’t want to do something that hundreds of kids will use as reference for exams and generaly conversations about their home land…have alook at a map of the gambia …theres very long names…the teachers dictated them to me it was a bit like Countdown or Scrabble, but with spraycans and geography. This was a very rough map that I’d painted on the exterior wall of the school, I did it quick while my skin boiled in the sun but I got a few things wrong as you would anyway. The tributarys of the river are called bolongs and I ended up asking where does this bolong belong anyway..blaa blaaaa you had to be ther it was very funny. I said to the teacher as I left I learned a lot today. I learned how to paint small letters and long words with a fat cap and that for every bad dirty fat cap tag I did when I was 14 I got all my karma today and it was fucking brilliant.
Cans have been unpacked, colours chosen, brushes have been in motion and Wide Open Walls is finally fully underway. Here’s a peek at what’s been going on so far over here at Kubuneh Village.
Many more photos and posts to follow as the project progresses.
Big day yesterday. All the artists arrived into The Gambia safe and sound, all the artists apart from Ben Eine that is, who not only chose not to come, chose to tell us he wasn’t coming the day he should have been here. Big shame.
Anyway, moving on, there is an excitement in the air here, and a calm before the storm. Tomorrow we’ll all travel by boat down to Kubuneh Village for the first time and begin work. The African sun, brutal and unforgiving, will certainly take it’s toll on everyone out there, water and shade will be close allies for the next fortnight.
I’m itching to see the beginnings of what has been a years worth of planning and excitement. Not long now till the sound of spray cans shaking and the site of brush strokes and stencils.
So expect to start seeing some photos of the official beginning of Wide Open Walls at some point tomorrow.
Onwards and upwards!
I stepped from the plane onto blistering hot Gambian soil yesterday afternoon and was met by Lawrence and his team and given VIP treatment from the word go. Waiting for my luggage to be brought TO ME in an air conditioned room with an ice cold glass of water was a nice change from fighting it out around the luggage carousel with the rest of the hot and tired travellers.
As I write this, I’m surrounded by lush mangrove swamp; roots and dense foliage keep hidden the beasts and creature that lurk beyond. A heron glides lazily overhead as the sound of something unseen breaks the water. The alien dawn chorus was amazing, the highlight being joined by a pair of toxic green birds, small and inquisitive, bold and unfazed by their new guest standing only feet away. Their crisp digital welcome seeming almost out of place in such an organic, analogue world.
Just heard my first Baboon disagreement, but am yet to catch a glimpse of the little bastards. I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m cornered and mugged for whatever savoury treats I’m carrying. Maybe I should arm myself? What would be the best weapon against a surprise baboon mugging?! I shall remain vigilante.
‘Tis only day 2, but I’m happy to report that so far, I remain unbitten and itch free. The 95% DEET makes my skin buzz and crackle with military grade toxins. Come on you little swines, come and get me.
Below is a view from my room. I’m sure you’ll agree, it aint bad at all.