Since the start of Wallin', collaborating with local legend ROA was something that was always high on our wish list. With the arrival of Gum, the new Ghent University Museum, this could finally be crossed off our list. After years of travel, discovery and leaving a trail throughout the world, the paintbrush of the ROA found its way back home.
GUM is a museum about science, research and critical thinking, where visitors can discover that science is the result of trial and error, doubt and imagination. ROA was not spared this process during his visit either. The composition of the work reflected the literal construction of his working process. Along the way, he searches for the right pieces for the right place. This gave fruit to a large pile of skeletons including those of an elephant, a rhinoceros, a grizzly bear and an okapi.
The mural is a good representation of how a company can communicate its story to the outside world on a timeless basis. The artwork perfectly represents what GUM stands for and has also become the biggest eye-catcher in Ghent. Many mouths dropped open when the news broke that ROA was back in business in Ghent. The press was wildly enthusiastic and the artwork was twice on the 7 p.m. news.
ROA is famous for his monumental black and white paintings of rabbits, birds, rats, fish and other animals, which he first started to paint on the walls in the surrounding cities of his hometown Ghent. The animals, often sunken, skeletal or dead, reflect ROA's pessimistic view on society. He always looks for relevance between the animals that he paints and the neighbourhood. Often they are extinct or no longer present in the neighbourhood due to circumstances.