Comorian Graffiti artist and muralist Socrome uses his art to illuminate his country’s rich and diverse origins. With a street art career that links French and Comorian traditions – his name even being an anagram for ‘Comoros’ (from the French: Union des Comores) – Socrome fashions a less conventional form of cultural representation.
The people of Comoros, an archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean off the East Coast of Africa, are a result of the fusion of many civilizations. The devoutly Muslim islands are also a thriving example of Swahili culture, the people descending from Malay immigrants, Arab traders and African groups; speaking a combination of Comorian, Arab and French. The archipelago is made up of four islands: Grande Comore, Anjouan, Mohéli and Mayotte. Previously a French colony, Mayotte is the only island that is still not independent. The rest make up what is officially called The Union of the Comoros, gaining independence in 1975. Suffering through over twenty coups, and being a resource short country, Comoros is desperately poor and routinely depends on international aid.
When thinking about Comoros, graffiti is not usually what first comes to mind, but it is indeed rooted here, and is now starting to get global recognition. The traditional forms of art are basketry, woodcarving, embroidery and hat and jewellery making, but the key form of cultural expression is found in the music. In connection to its history, Comorian music blends Arabic, French, African, Indian and Western sounds together to form a distinctive musical tradition unique to the island. Socrome talks about his art and inspirations in relation to music too and his style quite obviously depicts the mixing of diverse cultures, just like his country’s people and their music.
Passionate about hip-hop, Socrome is also part of the graffiti group Le Chat Noir (LCN). Created in 2003, the six members of Socrome’s French-based crew all have the shared vision of trying to make a memorable footprint. With the spray can as a precious accessory to their promising art, the LCN Crew appear in niche magazines and shows related to the urban art scene. In 2010, when Socrome first started doing graffiti in Comoros, he was challenged by the expensive, limited and poor quality sprays available to him there. Having such scarce resources changes the way an artist works. Socrome, however, saw this as an opportunity to develop his style, making it a unique progression.
Socrome’s work in Comoros is often found on walls and rusted containers. For him rust is a ‘beautiful texture’ to work with. When talking about the different places he paints, he reveals that sometimes the most important thing is not the piece, but the moments that come with it. Collaborating with different local artists, experimenting with a variety of techniques and being immersed in his community yields a vibrant experience. Influenced by the Comoros graffiti Calcamart group and, more specifically, Hakim Said Omar – an artist who uses calligraphy – Socrome learned how to urbanize Arab letters; this became common within his work throughout the country, and also reflects a big part of the Comorian identity. Working across the globe but citing his ideal canvas as his native Comoros, his art is attention-grabbing, impactful, yet an integral part of the landscape.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.