The walls of the Makwacha village in the Democratic Republic of Congo tell the story of both its tradition and modern life.
Women in the village are known for their beautiful art of painting their houses using natural pigments especially at the beginning of every dry season. A few years ago, the director of the French Cultural Center in the country came across painted houses along the route he was travelling in which made him to ultimately stop.
“Thanks to this painting, it allowed us to go to Paris and expose our works of art. And I believe that in the future maybe it can pay well, there will be other projects that will come,” said the village head, Jean-Pierre Kabaso.
From the monumental paintings, photographs and videos that were presented to the Parisian public, the women artists were able to raise 60,000 dollars. As a result, the village was able to have direct access to drinking water for the first time in history giving them more time to fully devote themselves to their incredible artistic skills.
The traditional painting practice has lured artists, journalists, tourist activity and NGOs in the area. Though many tourists are scared to travel to the country, following the ongoing political and security situation that has cost the lives of thousands of people.
“Congo is vast. If there is war in the north, it is at 4,000 kilometers, but in the south there is no war. There are people who go to Israel, where there are bombings, bombs and all that. But they’re going for tourism activities, thousands of them go there,” said Isaac Sumba Maly, the General Director of Okapi Palm Tours.
In a move to attract more tourists in the region, a construction project is underway of painted houses to accomodate the visitors during their stay in the village.
The Makwacha Art Village Festival also takes place every last Sunday of the month of August of every year.