“We can’t control our past but the future is down to us.” Wise words from a Liberian surfer who was born into an 11-year civil war and endured the recent Ebola crisis. These tragic experiences can inspire a variety of responses in people. Some lose hope thinking the past will repeat itself. Some see it as a chance for revival.
The Liberia Project all started with the idea that art could be the catalyst to help transform the lives of a group of surfers in West Africa. The team attempted to create pieces designed by some of the world’s best artists in order to develop skills towards careers in the creative sector while reviving some of the structures that stood as daily reminders of the war.
Apartial worked alongside local surfers to recreate elaborate pieces by Maser, Faile, 1010, Conor Harrington, Martin Whatson, Ted Pim and Mark Jenkins. This talented team donated designs to inspire the next generation of creatives in the small town of Robertsport. The project allowed Liberians to hone their skills by replicating the techniques of others. But, this is just the beginning as they’ll continue to transform their town and push towards new opportunities as they completely embraced the challenge and revealed a different side of Liberia.
The fresh murals inspired bystanders to share stories and see their surroundings in a whole new light. Neglected sites became focal points as the community gathered to appreciate the artwork. The vibrant pieces and jaw-dropping scenery merged into one outstanding sight as nobody could walk-by without a stutter in their step.
The task of capturing this pioneering project lay in the hands of a young local surfer whose love of being behind the lens flourished after travellers shared their cameras. Alphanso Appelton filmed his friends as they strived for perfection while painting in the spectacular landscape of Liberia. The footage was passed to the ever-impressive team at Motherland to string together the story. Here is a glimpse of what happened when a small group of Liberian surfers collaborated with some of the world’s best artists.