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Walls talk...

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... of men and peoples, of their pride, aspirations and struggles in the striking Street Art paintings found all over the island.


In the Bank of Mauritius car park in Port Louis, My Bastille by French artist Seth, speaks of freedom to bankers and, close by, Evan Sohun has painted scenes featuring financial wolves and dogs selling ice cream.

 

A Creole girl with a broken heart, a ripped collage by La Lune, appears on a power generator in Baie du Cap.

 


In front of a fresco at the Cabane des Artistes (“Artists’ Hut”), Risenzo, a member of Surfing Elements based on Morne Beach, encourages a swimmer, concerned about marine pollution to take the plunge.

 

     

On the road to Tamarin Beach is this tribute to nature: the dolphin swims above the pavement at the foot of Mont de la Tourelle, and some strange white rabbits by Evan Sohun share their space with teeming underwater reptiles by his compatriot RYMD.


 

Kids have splashed the walls of the School in Morne with visions of their ideal flower-filled village next to a clear-blue sea.

 


A sporty, well-dressed kid taunts passers-by in a narrow street in Camp Carol, an underprivileged neighbourhood of Grand Baie.

 

The young artist Painta Baboo brightens up the streets of his village Poudre d’Or with joyful Hindu gods like this Baby Krishna and youthful Dancing Parvati.


 

In the yard of a house in Poudre d’Or, a Leaping Baby Ganesh puts in an appearance.


 

A vibrant quote from Gandhi adds colour to a wall in Tamarin: "Be the change you wish to see in the world".

 


On this faded fresco in Mahébourg, "retourne nou Diego Garcia”, young inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago, deported by the British at the time of Mauritian independence, to make way for a US military base are still calling for the islands to be returned to them.

 


This little globetrotting figure known as a “gouzou” is the creation of Jace, an artist from Réunion Island. Gouzou is enjoying the shade under a roof that displays advertising for local Phoenix beers in Cap Malheureux.

 


Above the Jummah mosque in Port Louis beats the patched-up heart of young Mauritian painter Gaël Froget.

 


For the children painted here by Joshila Dalby on the hoardings of Caudan Waterfront “Moris Dime” (“Mauritius Tomorrow)” is now, with a popular Street Art Together happening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Independence.


 

At the entrance to Chinatown in Port Louis, a young Chinese artist called Wenna has created some huge caricatures of the gods knowledgeably and poetically debating in Chinese about man's place in the universe.

 


The walls of the Beachcomber Training Academy (the training institute for employees of the hotel group) in Trou aux Biches have been graffitied by the Belgian artist Denis Meyer with words and faces filled with hope.


Sponsored and spontaneous Street Art has invaded Mauritius. We set off to track it down in likely spots where a multitude of visionary painters and graffiti artists get their kicks and their
messages heard.


It's off to Tamarin where a street that leads to the beach was splashed with colour by local artists during The Bridge Eco-Art Festival. Inaugurated in 2015, it continues to delight villagers and raise consciousness
with its explosion of motifs and colours. A theme that was quickly emulated on school walls, like the Government School in the neighbouring village of Morne where students calling for marine
preservation “Protez Nou la Mer” were unexpectedly supplied with pots of paint by the Morne Heritage Fund. The same struggle appears on a colourful manifesto that greets us on Morne Beach, created by idealists
from the Cabane des Artistes (“Artists’ Hut”), a graphic depiction of underwater rubbish beneath floating swimmers and flying surfers.

 

The Time Warrior, a cyborg by Singaporean duo Ink&Clog is in danger of vanishing behind the breeze blocks on Royal Road in Chinatown.

Porlwi by Light fires up callings
Moving from ecology to urban mode in the capital Port Louis, where for the festival Porlwi by Light in 2016 twenty-three frescoes appeared as if by magic, lighting up the worn-out shopping centre with cosmopolitan mirages. Astonishingly, traders in this neighbourhood then requested more of these pictorial dreams which started popping up all over the place.

Moris Dime (“Mauritius Tomorrow)” has also appeared on hoardings in Caudan Waterfront, a new neighbourhood currently under construction. Axel Ruhomally and his agency MetaMorphosis are running an exciting Street Art Together project here, involving artists working alongside children from the Safire NGO to celebrate “infectious pride” and the 50th anniversary of Independence.

Quick getaway to the north of the island and Poudre d’Or, the village of Indian tales where Painter Baboo, a young solitary and naive aesthete, endlessly covers houses, yards and temples with dancing divinities escaped from the Buddhist pantheon, alongside stars of Disney films and other things that he dreams up.

A more political scene greets us as we enter Mahébourg, a large town on the oceanfront where on a crumbling wall generations of refugees from Chagos are still demanding to be allowed to return to
the island of Diego Garcia, occupied by a US military base.

An optimistic grand finale with a procession of hope-filled faces and words such as confidence, respect and success on the wall outside the Beachcomber Training Academy in Trou aux Biches. A creation put
together by Denis Meyers, and another commission from Moris Dime.

And virtually everywhere, from the north of the island to the south, the wandering “gouzous” offer up their witticisms as we happily explore art in the streets and on the roads.