Potholes can be annoying for anyone. And an ingenious European artist has come up with a new way to solve the problem – by filling them with mosaic tiles. In the southern French city of Lyon alone, there are some 350 and more across Europe.
Like British street performer Banksy across the Channel, Emenem is anonymous and little is known about him. He does not want to be photographed and does not give interviews. He has an agent through whom people can get in touch and a press kit on a website, but otherwise he says, “It’s important for me to remain a little mysterious,” as quoted in The Observer. “And it’s also because I’m not very talented when it comes to social interactions.”
Ememem is a self-proclaimed “pavement surgeon” and “pothole knight.” He calls his art, flackings, which refers to the French word, flagwhat pee means.
Not much is known about this man who devoted himself to the “art of healing the streets” except that his father was a tiler.
His agent who has known him for 15 years, Guillaume Abou, doesn’t fill in much more detail, except to confirm that he speaks French with a foreign accent and may be of Italian descent – something confirmed by the fact that his website is in French. is , English and Italian.
Since emerging from the underground art scene in Lyon in 2016, he has created over 400 ‘band-aids’ across Europe – in Scotland, Norway, Germany, Italy and Spain.
His artwork is not strictly legal in the sense that he never asks for permission and he works at night so as not to be disturbed, sometimes disguised. His agent told The Observer of how Emenem once set up a workspace by wrapping bureaucracy around cones to fill a gap in Guadaloupe, to give the impression that he was officially at work.
Emenem has 150,000 followers on Instagram, who enjoy his frequent before and after photos of unwanted holes in the ground. In this sense, he takes on the mantle of an American artist, Jim Bachor, who has been filling potholes in the streets of Chicago since 2013.