Women / المرأة

Women/ المرأة – acrylic on art paper. 40x50cm. For sale, contact me

Fatima chose the word ” المرأة ” (“women” in Arabic). She’s a teacher at a school in Balata Refugee Camp in Palestine. I painted her word on the front wall of her school when I met her in 2019. She was the first person to ever give me this word since I started “Share The Word Project” in 2013.There’s so much to be said about women in slums and refugee camps and their roles, their struggles, their leadership… One day I’ll have to adress this properly in the form of a text, or a show… Meanwhile I tried to use Fatima’s energy in this painting. Shout out to Yara, Fida, Jamila, Maryam, Rafif, Hadil, Wala, and all the strong Palestinian women out there!

Karamah

“Karamah” (=dignity) was a word given to me by Helwa in Palestine and which I painted on a wall in Balata Refugee Camp. I like using words that have been given to me in slums and refugee camps, and play with them on canvas or paper later on.

30x40cm on paper. For sale, contact me for more info.

Grigny

I’ve just completed this indoor mural in a community space in La Grande Borne, a social housing estate in Grigny, near Paris. La Grande Borne was built in the late 60s and early 70s to house inhabitants of parisian slums. Today 13000 people live here, mostly families having migrated to France from North, West and Central Africa.

Marietou, a local teenager, chose the word “Diversité” (diversity). Her family is from Mali, and she told me that “diversity” describes her community since 80 different nationalities live here. Grigny is known for being the poorest town in European France with a “poverty rate” of 45% (population with an income below 60% of France’s median income). However for Marietou, Grigny is one of France’s wealthiest towns in terms of cultures, languages and flavours.

Thank you to Marietou, Lisa, Amanda, and Kong! A pleasure to paint for you!

Respect

Ali Hassan, a 15 year old refugee from Bangladesh chose the word “Respect”. He left Bangladesh because his life was threatened by members of his own family. Some of his cousins were seaking revenge for issues he wasn’t even involved in. He left alone and after months of traveling by different means of transport he landed in Paris a few months ago. He’s taking french classes and would love to get a chance to study in France. At the moment he lives in a small hotel room while waiting to be transferred somewhere else. From his window he can see his word, painted on shutters at street-level.

Whether it be regarding his own cousins in Banladesh or regarding the way refugees are welcomed in Europe , Ali Hassan told me that RESPECT is for him the most important value, and it’s what is enabling him to start his new life in Europe.

Big thank you to @anthony5.5 for giving me this opportunity to paint someone else’s word on his own property! Thank you for supporting #ShareTheWordProject, for enabling Ali Hassan to express himself, and for supporting artists like myself ! If you have an outside wall and wish to use it for this purpose, do contact me!
📷 @anthony5.5

Petare, Venezuela

Thank you so much for participating in our campaign to help a struggling Venezuelan slum.
Last April, Venezuelan artist @dagor1 and I launched a fundraising campaign called “Colores Para Petate” to help a suffering low-income neighbourhood of Caracas. People could download and print a colouring book with mine and Dagor’s drawings, and keep the kids busy with it during lockdown. With each download people were free to give whatever amount of money they wanted.

It took us a long time to transfer the money over to Venezuela because of the very complex situation there. It isn’t possible to simply transfer money to a Venezuelan account.

However we finally found a good way of getting the money over! We got bags of food for families who are struggling after the covid crisis hit an already extremely vulnerable community. We also printed some colouring books for the local kids.

Thank you to all of you who participated! The community really appreciates that people, even far away, actually care!
Thank you to @camargokgh , @vitamarcelot , Mar, Rodrigo and Blandine!
📷@vitamarcelot

Share The Word Project – Favara

Video of Share The Word Project in Favara, Italy! Check out my work with @Spagbertin !
[Subtitles available on youtube in English, Italian, Spanish, French.]

Street artist Seb Toussaint works in slums, refugee camps and low income neighbourhoods around the world for his ongoing mission “Share The Word Project”. He paints words that people choose and tells the stories behind these words. The idea is to bring some focus to marginalised communities.

In this episode, Seb Toussaint spends a couple of weeks painting in Favara, a low income town of Sicily, Italy. Through the words painted on the walls, video maker @Spagbertin captures the voices of the community.

Filmed in Favara, Italy, September 2020, with the support of @FarmCulturalPark .
All rights reserved ©SpagBertin.

I’m not allowed to complain because my year hasn’t actually been that bad. I’m in good shape, my living loved ones are well, my dead ones are rotting away peacefully, compost in its advanced stages. The sun hasn’t exploded, business as usual in the Milky Way.

And then I can’t stop thinking that it really should have been a better year. Yeah, I’ve had stuff to work on, commissioned projects I’ve enjoyed. But apart from a great project in Sicily, I haven’t been able to work on “Share The Word Project”. I’m missing slums like I knew I would. I’d got used to balancing my life between Europe with family, friends, mature gouda, smooth roads, fields of maize for livestock, power even after storms; and an enriching life in African slums, South American favelas, Middle Eastern refugee camps, water sold in plastic packets, candles when the power cuts, bismillah before, alhamdulillah after, football with anything spherical, plastic bags for any transaction, guns and cards on plastic tables, sticky tape on bank notes, thick smog, thin tires, maize for humans, handshakes with humans, hugs with humans, tears with humans. It’s hard to find life as exciting without meeting so many humans and a without a project that gives meaning to my life.

And right now I feel fine, but usually I feel like I’m living a dream. Someone’s added a new ingredient to the curry and it’s just not the same. I can’t stop thinking that it seems stupid to stop living a dream because of an ingredient that has such a little chance of killing me. I’m told that I’m doing this for others, in solidarity. Then I think about what went wrong, what made so many humans obese, diabetic and so fragile against viruses, eventually saturating hospitals, triggering lockdowns, unemployment and wrecking dreams ? Wouldn’t it be worth going to the root of the problem? Shouldn’t we try to live in healthy bodies on a hospitable planet and be able to hug humans, play football with humans, and paint all over the world with humans? Because if we can’t do all that, we might as well be compost.

For all those who see January as the beginning of a year, let’s make this one a good one! For the others احبك ايضا . ❤️

Govandi 3

Govandi 3. 30x40cm on painting on paper. Artwork for sale. Contact me for more info!

Been working on a series of paintings using large brush strokes on paper, fragments of movement. I’m calling them by names of Mumbai railway stations where I remember men selling packets of drinkable water for 2 rupees, stray dogs sniffing the floor in search of naan crumbs, kids whacking cricket balls looking for 6s and hitting the odd commuter more often than not, groups of women carrying too many bags who somehow managed to fit inside packed carriges, oldies in a corner on their knees in a conversation with Mohammad ﷺ , the cool lads gliding into each station bodies outside the train, hanging on with an arm and a leg, flying off while the train is still in motion because if you can fly why the hell would you walk? And the more I look at the scene, the less it seems chaotic, the more it makes sense. Everything’s in place, every element is there for a reason.