Homeless refugee displays otherworldly portraits in London exhibition

Liberian refugee Johnson Weree escaped to Europe before ending up homeless - but he found solace in libraries and his art

Johnson Weree is a refugee from Liberia; he has been living in Rotterdam for 10 years, but is currently homeless. In a community library, Weree spends all day drawing weird and wonderful otherworldly portraits of imagined subjects; unusual heads resting on colourful, lively busts.

As a child in Liberia, Weree salvaged discarded materials for his creations using battery fluid for paint and scrap wood as a canvas. Today, utilising colour in a way he was previously unable, he works with ballpoint pens, gels, paints and pastels.

The surreal subjects of Weree’s paintings glare from the paper, with piercing eyes, unusual hair partings – thin lips tightly sealed underneath unusual noses, reminiscent of teddybears or even man’s best friend.

While men’s hairlines recede, the women boast bright blushed cheeks and unusual multi-coloured eyeshadow. You might even catch a glimpse of a figure within a figure, emerging from a buttonhole, or taking the place of someone’s shirt pocket.

An exhibition of his work is on now at The Gallery of Everything in London, which aims to help get him off the streets.