In many ways North Africa is the perfect place for street art; the sun dries the paint nice and quick and there’s little chance of it being rained away before you’ve finished. Graffiti isn’t particularly prevalent in North Africa and the Middle East, but what they do have looks stunning. A while back we covered some of the best Islamic graffiti around, the blue sky, white walls and constant sun fit outdoor art well. This Tunisian street art project is a cut above the rest though.
Recently, the small Tunisian town of Er-Riadh on the island of Djerba had a pretty awesome makeover. During the winter months the sleepy village was descended on by 150 street artists. What ensued is one of the coolest and most colourful makeovers a village has ever had.
The chap in charge of the project – Mehdi Ben Cheikh – is a busy guy. He’s got his fingers in a lot of artistic pies. He personally hand-picked the street artists for the Er-Riadh project from over 30 countries. Amazingly this was all legal and above-board too. He got all the proper permission from the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism and managed to convince every homeowner in the town that it was a good idea.
I wondered how the older generation felt about the change, but it seems that at least some of them are onboard:
It’s true that life has changed here, the village has changed and it’s a good thing. We prefer that our country evolves, it’s better for us. I am for the change; the evolution. And I hope it will continue.
I think this is a proper good idea. Take a look at the variety of graffiti in this beautiful little North African village over the next few slides: