Surreal graffiti art transforms ancient Tunisian village

Giant squids, mechanical arms and haunting faces are just some of the stunning murals that have transformed a Tunisian island into a surreal open-air art museum.

The walls of Er-Riadh, on the ancient island of Djerba, has been decorated with jaw-dropping graffiti art created by 150 artists from 30 different countries, thanks to the Djerbahood  project, curated by Parisian gallery owner Mehdi Ben Cheikh, founder of Gallery Itinerrance. 

From an octopus wrapped around the side of a building to a set of piercing blue eyes, each work of art draws attention to the buildings and surroundings of Er-Riadh.  

The artists, who spent the summer decorating the village, created their pieces based on their signature style of work, but also designed them to fit in with the local environment.

The village of Er-Riadh is home to the second oldest Jewish synagogue in the world, and Muslim, Jewish and African people in the village have been living in peace for centuries, according to Widewalls. Djerba is now one of Tunisia’s most popular tourist destinations.

Ben Cheikh is know for other mind-blowing public art.  Last year, he helped transform a derelict block in Paris into a 10-story art installation with designs covering every surface, inside and out, before it was demolished. 

The Djerbahood project, which is devoted to profiling the work of street artists, hopes that these murals will help bridge Erriadh's heritage with its future economic development.