Updated: Dec 13, 2020

As I write this, I am missing these kids a ridiculous amount. I come back to my memories of this perfect day more and more. The Gambia has a very special place in my heart.

The Gambia, is a vibrant, diverse, beautiful nation. But through the cracks of this inspiring place lies many hardships to make ends meet and a tragic lack of basic necessities in two of the most important areas of life on this planet- Health & Education. This brings me to why I am writing this today and to The Gambia Project.

"Knowledge is power"- the Headmaster of the Serekkuta Primary school put it so simply. The books are so important to him and he has hopes to have them in a proper library. At the Kotukala school, there are anything between 57 and 63 students PER CLASS. It's a private community school which means they can't turn children away and just have to cope with the numbers. They hope to manage better in the future. They lack simple school supplies tremendously. If they don't have enough pencils for the students the students can't recite any of the work which puts them behind. The pencils are often broken in two to share between the students who use them till the very last stub of lead. This leads me to

The Gambia Project

The Gambia Project is a PENCIL DRIVE (PLUS NECESSARY ACCESSORIES- SHARPENERS AND ERASERS)! I have created A5 mixed media artworks inspired by my travels to the fishing village in Gambia. Each artwork costs just £4-ALL PROCEEDS going to the Bracknell Forest Lions Gambia Appeal.



Head over to The Gambia Project page on my website to purchase an artwork and read more about where the inspiration for these comes from.

>>>The Gambia Project ART<<<


Kebba our wonderful host has been communicating the same important message to all of the government officials we met during my trip that we can take a lot from- "We are part of a bigger picture and We are building a nation".

I learned a lot, and I also got to teach. I took a bit of Gambia with me and I left a little of me there.

If you would like to be a part of this beautiful journey for the children of The Gambia, purchase an artwork! You will be buying them much needed, basic equipment in return and have that reminder with you every day, that you did a little thing for a big step forward.

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We live in a powerful, evocative time that invokes feelings of compassion, empathy, and the need to save the world more and more, BUT with this driving force of activism comes a deep dark truth that lives within our anxieties that equally brings forth our unconscious, ingrained habits of the primitive self that reinforces specism, racism, sexism and our obsession to dominate, to control, to rule and win over. We are obscured by appearances and material, possessions, and ego.

I spend everyday thinking my head into a whirlwind of wanting to save the world in one click of a button, in one monumental message or piece of art that will create a conscious, harmonious world, because we are not all the same, but we are equal.

It's time to Live by Love.

And so, with my whirlwind mind, I enter into my "Human Nature series" that will be torturous, it will be vibrant, it will be conscious, it will be a mockery of humanity and a wonderland of nature that once was, it will be evocative and provocative and above all else will create social awareness, because I am part of the echo that so many people are communicating to the world. We are fragments that make up a bigger picture and no matter how small, it really does make a huge difference and so we MUST do our part, because this current pandemic is really the least of our worries. What is a life worth living, if we have no place to live it on.


Unity (Narrated by famous actors and musicians)

A Life on our Planet, David Attenborough

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For those of you who don't know where I'm from- I was born in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. I lived some of my childhood, in a small town in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and then pretty much grew up in beautiful, Cape Town, South Africa with the exception of a short time in my dads home town Johannesburg, Gauteng. I am South African Portuguese with Mauritius and Dutch heritage as well. I know little to nothing of my Dutch roots apart from that my grandad on my mum's side was Dutch and I know of its colonialist impact on South Africa and Apartheid and the slave trade. I know a little more about my Mauritius roots (on my mum's side)- we ate curries at Christmas and our take on Mauritian street food- Gato piments, which we stuffed with chicken and call "Murrinut", but I probably have more Portuguese-South African quirks. I attempted to learn the language but embraced my European roots in other ways such as enjoying bacalao (salt cod) at my dad's friends house one Christmas, and those lunchtimes eating peri-peri chicken livers with Portuguese rolls and tinned-sardine sandwiches. As children, we spent a fair bit of time around my dad's Portuguese friends and picked up on many a swear word dropped in their conversations, like merde (shit).

Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, but we lived a simple life always surrounded by nature. Our garden in Hluhluwe was full of papaya (paw paw- South Africa) and we lived across from a pineapple farm. My dad owned a grocer where my sister and I liked to play. We had wild rabbits, dogs, birds, and a tortoise for pets and we rehomed stray cats all the time. We also loved catching giant locusts in jars! As children we played near the water's edge where hippos and crocodiles weren't too far away. We looked forward to adventures into the game reserve with my dad in his "jalopie" AKA jeep. We had such an exciting childhood. When we moved near the coast, we were either climbing mountains, catching fish and frogs, going rock pooling, or heading to the flea-markets and second-hand shops and antique stores for a bargain- My love for the outdoors, nature, animals and giving old things a new life came from my childhood. This is how I keep my heritage and things that make me, alive. I think what I'm trying to say is; If we dig further back into our traditions and quirks we will find something that makes up our design because culture and diversity are important for enriching our lives. Learn to appreciate culture and traditions from all over the world. Have conversations with people, learn from them, and in turn teach someone something. This is what makes our world so beautiful and so great. Immerse yourself in people and their traditions when you travel. Get in touch with that long lost relative and have those conversations. Have those conversations with friends! Culture is the very fabric of our world.

During my travels to Gambia, Northern Africa it made me miss home. And so, I think my bold, colourful painting style is an expression of home in a way and everything that makes me.

I hope I get to learn something about your culture and heritage!

Let your culture and your history inspire you and let it teach you and become a better human being because of it.

Fran xx

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