Baltimore Street Artist Brightens Walls in Liberia

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Photo by M. Holden Warren, via NPR
Photo by M. Holden Warren, via NPR

The Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi Elementary and Junior High School in Liberia has been closed since last August, when the country was crippled by the rapid spread of Ebola. Last week, the school reopened–and students were welcomed back by a brightly-colored mural that might look familiar to some Baltimore residents.

David Cogdill, who’s better known as Nanook in the street art world, painted the school’s cheerful butterfly-and-pineapple themed mural. He’s also a 2011 MICA grad whose work can be seen on a number of buildings throughout Baltimore.

Nanook working on a project for Open Walls Baltimore, photo by Martha Cooper
Nanook working on a project for Open Walls Baltimore, photo by Martha Cooper

Thanks to funding from a German organization, Nanook was able to travel to Liberia to help give the school a facelift. (Two other Baltimore artists, Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, also contributed designs to the project.) During the Ebola crisis, the school served as a medical holding center, and was the focal point for a number of neighborhood raids and riots; Nanaook’s mural is intended to help mark the building’s transition back to becoming a place of hope and learning for the community.

 



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