Artist James Choules was recently invited to produce works in The Gambia, West Africa under his Graffiti alter-ego SHE ONE. The project titled WideOpenWalls was founded by Lawrence Williams with the concept of turning 14 villages in the Ballabu Conservation Area into living arts projects. The main focus being to encourage inspiration and rejuvenation and long term the project seeks to raise funds for the villages as well as promote the area as a tourist destination.

SHEONE says “this was an amazing opportunity to work in very unusual and inspiring environments, wherever I painted the people were very receptive and open to what I was painting. Having to show a village chief, also the local Imam photos of my abstract paintings on my ipod before he gave me the nod to work in his village was definitely a unique experience.” Lawrence acknowledges the sensitive nature of this project and how the intervention can effect a village, as one of the chiefs said “they will come to see the art and will find our ethos and way of life”. This exchange of knowledge of practice is something WOW plans to continually engage through its considered introduction of new artists to this area.

“Some of my works were painted on buildings along a dirt track called ‘ZIONSTREET’ and I thought this would make a great title for my trip.” says She One “The kids were really interested in what was happening, and would gather round playing jokes and trying out there English before competing to be photographed with the work” “what was really interesting was when you would go back to a painting you would find a group of kids sitting under it, particularly in the villages, the works become like status symbols and a place to hang out”.

The pieces.

‘JAMES’ painted on abandoned farm house on Zion Street.

‘SHE’ House belonging to village chief of Makambuya
The kids are wearing local Muslim school uniform

‘T-RANSCEND’ Abandoned building, Zion Street.

photos by Sheone & Larry Makasutu

More pics on She One’s Tumblr