Global creative art project turns slums into stunning outdoor galleries!

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
January 20, 2017Stories
Global creative art project turns slums into stunning outdoor galleries!

Over a billion people live in the slums, but the rest of the world seems to be oblivious of their state and existence. When many consider these places as dirty “alien zones,” some people have done wonders by converting stinky dwellings with crumbling walls into straggling outdoor art exhibits. 

The Outsiders Krew have taken it upon themselves to beautify the slums in low-income neighborhoods in various parts of the world – from Kathmandu to the Calais “Jungle.” They have transformed these houses reeking of misery, by beautifying the neighborhoods and conveying to the shunned part of society –  somebody cares.

All art lovers looking for a purpose in life need to take a look!


Ask a tourist what they would like to see in the city they visit, and the slums is a strict no-no on their list: due to the misery, filth, overcrowding, violence, poverty, pests of all kinds… the list is endless.


Since 2013, painter/graffiti writer Seb Toussaint and photographer/filmmaker Spag, who have been childhood friends, have started the “Share The Word” project where the ignored part of society choose empowering words to paint their shanty town walls and create a communication with the people from other socio-economic backgrounds.

The “Share The Word” promote an alternative to inquisitorial “slum tours” and draw their attention to these communities.

“Some slums we work in have issues with mal-nourishment, others with illiteracy, gun violence, slavery, contaminated water, or AIDS. Slums in different countries face different day-to-day problems, but they all have one issue in common: they feel excluded from the rest of the world,” artist Seb Toussaint explains.

People from more affluent backgrounds keep a safe distance from these communities as they bear a notorious reputation.  Public transport is not always provided to them. This further alienates them and causes job discrimination which further elevates their poverty levels.


The Outsiders Krew usually stays four weeks working in a particular community highlighting challenges and dreams “in their own words.”

So far they’ve painted 100 murals in 8 different countries, The first being in Kathmandu’s largest slum.

“Share The Word is also a great opportunity for us, as young artists and young adults to learn about the world, about ourselves and about different cultures. The people from these communities have taught us a lot, often without realizing it,” Toussaint adds.

The Outsiders Krew recently took their project to a slum in southern Cairo, Egypt.


“People in the slum are completely on their own. That was true before and after the revolution. In this slum, there were fewer people who had AIDS, who were hungry and who had firearms. However, there was less hope,” photographer Spag says.

Egyptian journalist Mohamed Abdelfattah says, “Impoverished areas, like El Basateen, are rarely given any form attention from officials. Initiatives like these [Share the Word], including ones done by local Egyptians, are probably one of the few and only avenues of happiness and relief that kids get.”

The Outsiders Krew’s latest project in the Calais “Jungle” encouraged refugees fleeing war and misery in their homelands to voice hope and concerns. But the art collective is being shut down by authorities.

“It was a very interesting experience…. Firstly, the community living in the camp is in transit. It’s also a very diverse place with 22 different nationalities living on site,” Toussaint explains. “Many of the migrants are highly educated…no one there had trouble reading the words painted on walls.”


Due to urbanization, the number of slum dwellers continues to grow. The “Share The Word” project represents an effort to improve the slum environment.

“This sort of interaction is a small, yet important step”.



All Photographs (c) Outsiders Krew. Photos in Kathmandu (c) Sanjog Manandhar.