Wide Open Walls was launched in 2010. Lawrence, a keen artist himself, had been working with local artists on a project called Bushdwellers for a number of years and has always wanted to expand it into something more, something lasting that could both function as a valid art installation in itself and at the same time promote The Gambia as a tourist destination. The basic idea was to turn some of the village of Kubuneh within the Ballabu area into a living art exhibition. After speaking with Eelus, a street artist of world renown, Lawrence suddenly had himself a curator and the first Wide Open Walls project was born.
The following October, 8 street artists from around the world came to The Gambia and over the course of two weeks, turned the village of Kubuneh into a living art project. The results are at once revelatory and yet oddly unintrusive - the pieces seeming to blend in well with the environment. At times, you miss the artwork (on a compound wall, midway up the trunk of a huge baobab) so well do they seem to fit in.
The project was an equal success in 2011, with Ricky Lee Gordon (aka Freddy Sam) of Write On Africa in the curatorial role. And like wise in the years that followed.
Keep up with future developments on the Wide Open Walls Facebook page.
Also check out this excellent video of some of the artwork filmed by Matt Glen.