Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bushdwellers turning villages into ‘living canvases’

The Managing Director of Makasutu Culture Forest, Lawrence Williams has told The Voice newspaper that the Ballabu Conservative Project is turning villages into living canvases.
The Ballabu Project is a collective art between Mr. Williams and Njogu Touray, started two years ago, and it is meant to paint 14 villages (from Abuko to Pirang). This, Mr. Williams said is a mixture of fine art and street art.
We started painting in Kembuje, Kubuneh and Brikama but during the rainy season we had to stop and resort to painting canvases, these are the materials we have here on display today, he said during an Art Exhibition, organised by the (an artists collective), the Bushdwellers at the Alliance Franco-Gambienne on 26th November, 2010.
We already painted one village and we want to link all the villages involved by art (an art safari) where tourists will pay to visit the area, thereby generating income for the community.
These villages will become ‘living canvases’ and the proceeds gained from eco-tourism will be invested in education, healthcare, community projects among other things for the communities.

Mr. Williams described street art as the largest art movement in world, while explaining that before the project started, they approached the village heads (Alkalolus) in the Ballabu Conservative Area, who consented to be offered paintings for free.
Painting is expensive, so we are giving it to the villagers who do not have the resources to paint or perform art, Lawrence William said.
Mr. Njogu Touray, on his part, said the exhibition is a collaborative effort aimed at unveiling their studio work to the public, this, he said is also meant to promote their work and a better way of expressing themselves.
That apart, he said the initiative of the Ballabu project is also economically driven in order to help play their quota in poverty eradication and national development.
On one of the pieces of art on display, is a depiction of the much talked about oil spill in The Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. The piece of work contains in it, a bird on a man’s head, underneath lay a piece of black cloth and on it lay barrels, the dripping and spread of crude oil. Dead fishes where also laid on the piece and the name Bushdwellers (bd) was turned to represent bP, the British oil company that was at the heart of the oil disaster.
This, Mr. Touray said is a ‘contemporary pieces on the importance of the conservation of animal species and the promotion of eco-tourism.’ He added that the piece of work depicts the extensive damage that oil disasters can cause to man, the eco-system and animal species alike.

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