When one of our local team pointed out the town’s basketball court we knew we were standing in front of the next location for The Liberia Project. Our minds immediately drifted towards one of Ireland's most innovative artists, Maser. His work often encourages onlookers to interact with his installations so we felt this was the perfect match.
The spot craved his bold colour combinations to reflect what could be seen on the court. The grounds erupted in passion a few times a week when crowds would gather to watch locals hit the court to compete in 3-on-3. We got a real sense of the importance of this site when the team explained that this old petrol station is one of the community’s only sporting facility.
A few days later, the local team patiently waited as the painstakingly slow Internet connection struggled to download Maser’s emailed design. All of a sudden there were roars of excitement as the image appeared on the screen. For the team, it seemed beyond the realms of reality that this piece would be in Liberia and not in some American movie. Needless to say, they were keen to get going.
The team began by priming the whole site while fighting with fragile rollers, erratic weather and a lack of experience. But, this allowed us to grow the team and invite more of the local surfers to get involved. There were close to 20 people frantically painting between howls of thunder and unrivalled downpours. The Liberian rainy season brings blistering sunshine and clouds that simply seem to explode like waterfalls, not ideal when you’re attempting to paint the ground.
The pure white site drew a lot of attention but things got hectic once the colour was introduced. The community took notice and Facebook came alive with glimpses of Maser’s design. All ages came up and thanked the team for their hard work. The pride was visible in each of the painters’ faces as they focused on the job in hand. Measuring, re-measuring and re-measuring again became the standard before paint touched any surface.
Tins were empty, rollers were broken and every piece of clothing was covered in paint as the days passed and sessions came to an end. The whole space went calm as the team pulled back from the site and examined their work. The vibrant space and jaw-dropping scenery merged into one outstanding sight. The real moment arrived when the players took to the court as the sun rose the following morning. This old neglected petrol station had been transfromed into the centre of the community as the town came out to play on Maser's latest design.
Images: Alpanso Appleton + Apartial