We didn’t want the country’s history to be a focal point of The Liberia Project but it is impossible to completely ignore the past. So, we wanted to paint a small piece to symbolize the sorrow that has struck this region in recent years. To document the tough times we headed to a place that is a constant reminder of the region’s former glory.

A huge hotel rests on the edge of town by the beach. To us, this represents what this area was before the war and could return to in the near future. We walked down into the dark hallways searching through the deserted bedrooms. In the early 90’s, each guest would have enjoyed epic views of perfect waves rolling past their window. Now, the only residents are crabs, birds and the odd snake. We decided to paint a piece indoors as we felt it would represent the past without imposing on the future. We came across a spot that was sure to be seen by anyone exploring the hotel for a little adventure so all we needed now was the artwork.

We needed someone who spends their time perfectly capturing raw emotion so we knew there was only one man for the task, Ted Pim. The Northern Irish painter is known for his passionate portraits that can often be discovered inside abandoned buildings. His style was destined to fulfil our purpose.

It could have been the unforgettable sense of snakes in the air but the atmosphere was definitely different as we approached the hotel this time. Maybe, the team were partially apprehensive to paint something so passionate but still excited to begin a new piece. In saying all of that, this smaller scale artwork allowed the locals to take their time and experiment with new techniques so there were few complaints once we got going.

A few days later, we were all still free from snake venom and satisfied with the work. The portrait was simply stunning as you headed down the dark corridor. The pools of rainwater resting on the floor reflected the striking features, none more so than the portrait’s harrowing eyes. This piece of artwork became a deepening experience as the team shared stories from the war and Ebola crisis throughout our time in the hotel. But, the charming West African optimism was restored once we walked away and returned to the spirited streets of Robertsport. As we talked through the work, we realised that it would rarely be seen but the team were content that they would always know its significance. 

 

Ted Pim the original artwork

 

Ted Pim The Liberia Project

 

Ted Pim Liberia Project Img 1

 

Ted Pim Liberia Project Img 2

 

Ted Pim Liberia Project Img 3

 

Ted Pim Liberia Project Img 4

Images: Alpanso Appleton + Apartial