Visiting the Saharawis


We went to the Western Sahara for a reconnaissance trip invited by Danielle Smith from Sandlast who has been committed to the Sarahawi cause for over 27 years. We developed and painted a mural in the Special Needs centre there, and are in the process of creating a large-scale project, which could potentially invole all the Sarahawis in all the five camps. We had the great pleasure of meeting and working with the Sarahawi artist Mohammed Suleiman.

In the Desert, a stone’s place is on the ground. By painting the stones that hold down the roof, the Saharawi refugees might express publicly their desire to go back to their original place, just like the stone will go back to the ground when they leave their exile land.

In a context of such big immediate need, an action like this might create intrigue and raise the question: why are they doing this? what does it mean? We hope this will increase the Saharawi Struggle’s visbility in the International Community and in turn bring closer their dream of returning to their home which was unlawfully usurped by Marroco in November 1975.

PIXEL OF THE BIGGER PICTURE, starting at the home of artist Mohamed Sulaiman, we will encourage other families to paint their own ones across the five camps. We hope there will be a moment when the world will see the new green colours splashed on the desert canvas through Google Earth and that this will help people see and understand the bigger picture.

We are planning to present the idea to UJSARIO the Saharawi Youth Organisation to see if they can help us make it happen.

The mural was developed with the sensitivities of Special needs people in the insitution mind, along with its place within the camp society and its parameters. This mural does three things: firstly, it makes people ask themselves “What is it?”, triggering a sequence of thought. Secondly, it visually integrates the U-shaped building, and adapts its narrative (ie theblue was pre-existing, and we simply added the pipe on both ends). Thirdly, it introduces the idea of a beginning and an end, although it is not clear which is which. The viewer will make what they will of it. (Saharawi passers-by suggested ideasas disparate as sweets to the struggle)

Collaboration with Danielle Smith from Sandblast

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