The world owes a big round of applause to painter/graffiti artist Seb Toussaint and photographer Spag for bringing color and creativity to slums all over the world with their project: Share The Word. Starting in 2013, the childhood friends embarked a journey to give a new breath of life to impoverished ghettos internationally through art and culture.
There is much more to slum life than the stereotypes which are propagated, and proving that is Toussaint and Spags mission precisely. The Outsiders Krew helps stop discrimination against people in these slums by transforming shacks, tents, and buildings into sprawling public art exhibits. The art not only has physical and aesthetic benefits but it also empowers the locals to see that the ability to create beauty is within everyone.
UN-Habitat research has found that approximately one billion people live in slum conditions. In light of these recent findings, as well as an increase of violence amongst slum dwellers, groups such as “Share The Word” have been working hard to promote a more positive image of these neighborhoods along with the people who live within them. The Outsiders Krew spends four weeks, on average, working in each community creating art which emphasizes their collective dreams and struggles. As of today, they’ve created 100 murals in over 8 countries.
As far as the underlying issue which is the slum conditions that already exist, the artists believe that urbanization is to blame. The number of slum dwellers is on the rise, and getting rid of those slums won’t solve the problem but rather add to it. Toussaint said, “It seems like politicians and journalists are talking endlessly about this complex problem, but very rarely do we hear what the migrants themselves have to say”.
The Outsiders Krew’s most recent project in the Calais Jungle allowed hundreds of refugees fleeing their homelands from misery and war to voice their hope and concerns through collective art pieces in the center of the camp. While this project was unfortunately shut down, the friends continue on their mission to transform slums into colorful oasis.