Belgian street artist ROA has lent his talents to the Wide Open Walls (WOW) project in the Gambia through a series of public artworks. ROA is known for his massive murals depicting exotic animals infiltrating urban habitats. It's often unclear how ROA reaches his seemingly inaccessible mural sites, but WOW provided ROA with canvasses easily viewed by the Gambian public.
The striking portraits of local wildlife that ROA painted in the Gambia are part of WOW's larger cultural art initiative. WOW, an organization founded by Lawrence Williams of the Gambian conservation groupMakasutu, aims to incorporate public art installations into local communities. Organizers hope to inspire freedom of expression as well as promote the Gambia as a destination for tourism. 2011 saw the first year in a collaboration between WOW and Write On Africa, a similar organization based in South Africa whose purpose is to affect social change through public art. Other artists who have participated in the project include Bushdwellers, Freddy Sam, Know Hope, Remed, TIKA, Selah and Best Ever. View ROA's work in the slideshow below or on WOW's Facebook page.
Wide Open Walls has dedicated the project to the memory of James and Malang, two collaborators who passed away in recent weeks.