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Wow. This Gambian Street Art Is Everything

Wow. This Gambian Street Art Is Everything

When someone talks of street art, the first word that pops into the head is probably Banksy. The Bristolian street artist is known for his visually stunning and politically-charged works that can be seen around the world. Banksy or not, street art is usually seen as the preserve of big cities like London, Paris, New York, and others, mostly in the West.

Would you think of Gambia?

Maybe the small West African nation isn't necessarily one that you would associate with street art. Back in 2010, a group of artists came together to launch a new project.

Named 'Wide Open Walls', the project drew 8 street artists from around the world to a small cluster of villages in south-western Gambia. The aim was to encourage tourism and interest in local spots, turning the villages of Kubuneh and Galoya into real-time art projects.

Started by Gambian artist Njogu Touray and British lodge owner Lawrence Williams, the two formed its precursor Bush Dwellers, an art collective. Williams reached out to Eelus, a British-based graffiti artist, and soon Belgian street artist ROA, and many others became involved.

(Courtesy: Clare Spencer via BBC)

However, the Wide Open Walls project wasn't limited to foreign artists, with locals also getting stuck in. The image above, of a building decorated with simple yet striking red love hearts, was created by a local talent, according to the BBC.

Despite some of the art disappearing due to natural decay, BBC's Clare Spencer says that there was still a lasting impact on the local art scene.

"British artist Remy Rough is known for painting bold colours and geometric shapes across grand expanses. Villagers watched his technique - using masking tape - and started copying it across walls and whole buildings," she said.

Street art in Kubuneh, The Gambia. Wide Open Walls to promote tourism.

A post shared by Ronald (@ronald_d) on

Go here to learn more about Wide Open Walls and check the project's Facebook for even more fantastic art pieces!

Are you a fan of street art? Let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter. It's always great to hear from you!

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