The MNK96 is a group of fans supporting the S.M.Caen, a football club in Normandy playing in the french leagues. It is with this group in the football stadium that I started to paint, and design banners, flags, scarves and all sorts of displays.
The MNK96 is my art school and a second family. My friend Spag Bertin and I were pushed to create art in the football stadium by the older fans who contributed to making us artists. We learnt our trades, and made friends with people who have come and helped on many different episodes or Share The Word Project. Of course there is my friend/assistant Dudu, and Abdul Malek, Nono and of course El Afghani!
Can’t wait to be allowed back in the stadium for more fun and creativity!
Picture of Spag Bertin and I, representing our crew outside our borders.
It’s been exactly 10 years since the start of the ongoing civil war in Syria. My thoughts go to the Syrian refugees who after having gone through the most inhumane atrocities, gave me so much faith in humanity.
Here are a few pictures I took in Kawergosk Refugee Camp in Northern Iraq. In 2017, during the battle of Mossul, I spent one month living and painting in a refugee camp with 9500 displaced Kurdish Syrians.
Today half the population of Syria is displaced. It’s such a massive figure that I have trouble realising what that truely means. Listening to people’s stories, sharing meals, and painting people’s words, helped me see this conflict through the feelings and emotions of human beings. Conflicts aren’t just dates, statistics and a few big names seen as winners or loosers. Conflicts are the biggest form of trauma effecting the masses in all sorts of terrible ways. Let’s hope for peace in Syria, let’s keep ourselves informed, let’s keep listening to the Syrian people and let’s keep caring.
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” (=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.
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!
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