When I received an email from a French artist, Francois Beaurain, mentioning his project about Monrovia, I got curious.
I featured all kinds of artwork and photography from the US and countries in Europe and Asia, and as well as from South Africa. But I’ve never thought I would feature an artwork from Liberia — a country torn by war in the 1990s and with 85% of population live below the international poverty line (Wikipedia). On top of that, the country is currently plagued by Ebola virus.
So I was really thrilled when I opened the email and browsed Beaurain’s website. His series of GIFs capturing the life and culture in Liberia has caught my attention. Then I said to myself, “I’ve got to feature these awesome animated GIFs!” :)
All images courtesy of Francois Beaurain, and are published with permission
To see more of his work, please visit his Website.
Most of Liberian people do not have access to water and sanitation. Wells are important social places in communities where people meet and chat. ~ François Beaurain
In Liberia, expats live in houses behind 3 meters walls doubled with barble wires. Private security companies control the access to these fortresses. In this compound for instance there were more guards than guarded people. ~ François Beaurain
Here is an example of an old wooden house covered with corrugated iron. ~ François Beaurain
Monrovia has countless evangelical churches. Church is a flourishing business in Liberia and a major part of Liberians’ life. ~ François Beaurain
Ikea has no stores yet in Liberia. Furnitures are locally made with discrete shapes and colors. ~ François Beaurain
Here is a typical scene of street life all over Liberia. While men mostly go to barber shops, women tend to get together, in the streets, below a tree or a veranda and plait each other’s hair. ~ Francois Beaurain
Nobody would be surprized if I say that women do most of housework in Liberia. ~ François Beaurain
Government of Lybia owns a lot of real estate in Monrovia (ironically including the building where the UN mission is based). In 2008, the government of Libya signed a lease with the government of Liberia to refurbish the Ducor Hotel. The works started in 2010 but were stopped by the civil war in Libya. ~ François Beaurain
Ducor Hotel had once a tennis court that is now mostly used by kids from the community that developed around the hotel to play football. ~ François Beaurain
In a dollarized economy where US and Liberian dollar cohabit, money changer is one of most common “small business” in Liberia.”Chop My Money” is a song by Nigerian R&B duo P-Square and is an extremely popular song in Liberia. ~ François Beaurain
The former French embassy is an impressive building close the US one that was looted during the civil war but never rebuilt. The current French embassy is more low profile, showing France’s declining influence in Africa. ~ François Beaurain