I rarely get to paint nice old houses like this one. Thank you to the Whee team who got me to paint their new language and cultural centre in Teusaquillo, Bogotá. It was a pleasure to paint this almost abstract mural with the help of very friendly people.
Every afternoon the ladies gather on the bench, and chat for hours. We asked Asma to chose a word, and she came up with “Eksat” (the Hindi word for “Together”). She thought it would suit the place.
For me, the ladies’ bench is a source of inspiration since women here always wear beautiful dresses and sarees with vibrant colours. They told me I had to dress well if I wanted to have my picture taken on the bench with them. Ladies’ bench rules!
A year ago we were working in Gagalingin, a slum in the north of Manila, Philippines. Here’s a short documentary of our project there:
“Peace” is a word that everyone here agrees with, whether it be in the neighbourhood itself, or in the rest of Bogota. The mural includes 16 different houses and we chose the bridge that crosses the ring road as the point of view to see the whole piece. This bridge links the community with the rest of Bogota and hundreds of people walk across it each day.
Hopefully people from other parts of the city will also want to stand on the bridge to look at the art, and even cross the bridge to visit an isolated yet very warm community.
Thanks to everyone who helped us make this possible and special thanks to the Universidad de la Javeriana and its volunteers.
“We all need love !” – Usum, Erythrean refugee and nightclub owner in the Jungle refugee camp.
“My name is Sali, I’m from Teheran, Iran. I left my country because I had no freedom there. The Islamic regime has a special police force spying on everything we do. I’ll never go back to my country, now that I have left, I’m on the black list.”
“My name is Kaiji. I’m both from Ethiopia and Erytrea. I couldn’t stay in Ethiopia after my father died, and I couldn’t stay in Eritrea either because of my religion. I’m a Pentecostal (protestant), and since I’m not Orthodox or Muslim, I was in serious danger. I left home with my wife and went across the Sahara desert in the back of a truck with 75 other refugees during 2 weeks. We couldn’t move and the driver only gave us a small piece of chocolate a tiny bit of water each day. At the border between Sudan and Libya, the Libyans took all our money, jewelry and sometimes even our clothes. Many women were raped. When we got to Tripoli we were locked inside a sort of prison with 150 other people. It was hell, it stank, there were no windows and we were there for 5 weeks. I managed to call my family and they sent some money over to free my wife and I. Then we took a small boat that took us to Lampedusa, a small Italian island. From there we were sent to continental Italy, and the authorities put us in a camp in Bari. There was no work there and nothing to do. We escaped and took several trains all the way up to Northern France. We hid in the toilets to avoid the controllers.
A week ago my wife managed to get to England. I helped her climb on the top of a freight train; she stood on my shoulders and managed to climb up. Unfortunately there was no one to help me climb so I told her I would meet her there. She called me when she got to the other side of the tunnel. She’s now in London waiting for me, and people are taking care of her. I need to go and join her, she’s 4 months pregnant and I really want to be there for the birth of my first child.
You want me to choose just one word? Hmmmm… “FAITH”.”
We’re spending a week in the “Jungle” refugee camp in Northern France where 5000 migrants mostly from the Middle East and East Africa are attempting to cross the English Channel and settle in the UK. As usual, we asked them which words they would like to share.
“My dream is to go to the UK, start a new life and have a family…” – Nugusu, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
After 12 days of work we have completed our biggest ever piece! For the East Stand of Berimo Stadium, we got together with some of the youth, and decided on 3 words which we all thought might be the most important elements of life.
Berimo Stadium is the only football pitch in the slum of Lideta. It has a capacity of roughly 3000 people, and hunderds of people use it each day.
The West Stand of Berimo Stadium with the word “Lideta” written in Amharic. People wanted the name of their slum written big enough for everyone to see it from the main road.
[FR]: Après 12 jours de travail, nous venons de terminer notre plus grande oeuvre jamais réalisée ! Pour la Tribune Est de Berimo Stadium, nous nous sommes concertés avec des jeunes locaux pour choisir 3 mots qui nous ont paru être les éléments les plus importants de la vie.
Berimo Stadium est le seul terrain de foot du bidonville de Lideta. Il a une capacité d’environ 3000 personnes, et des centaines de joueurs l’utilisent chaque jour.
La Tribune Ouest du Berimo Stadium, avec “Lideta” écrit en amharique. Les locaux voulaient que le nom de leur bidonville soit écrit suffisamment grand pour que tout le monde puisse le lire de la grande rue.