Paintwork: young Liberians slap on any message you want

(AFP) Standing in sweltering heat for hours at a time, painted head-to-toe in the colours of the tax authority, Emmanuel Howard has become a fixture at traffic junctions in Liberia’s capital Monrovia.

He and dozens of other young men are deployed by advertising firms as colourful human billboards for client ranging from government agencies to brides-to-be.

Standing stock still on the bustling roadsides, they have become street sensations.

“I feel good being painted because this is what gives me my daily bread. Some of my friends are in the streets stealing from others,” says Howard, a 25-year-old “statue”.

“I take care of my child with it. I feed and clothe myself, and I pay my rent,” adds fellow body painter Joseph Yarpkawolo, 27.

Body painting as a means of attracting attention in the streets began in the early 1990s with youngsters done up as mascots for the national football team, daubed in the red, white and blue of the Liberian flag.

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Source: News Now/AFP Online

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About Cholo Brooks 15852 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.