MASAI IN SOUTH AFRICA ... AN ENDANGERED PROJECT
The art of being creative and creating art itself is something that has always been a part of my life since I was a kid, in fact it’s more or less the only thing I have ever felt I could do with real confidence. I began working with spray cans three years ago as I believe in constantly challenging myself as much as possible, however the constant bombardment of Internet street art viewing has left me feeling exhausted by something I truly love. It is this weariness which lead me to realise that if I’m going to continue painting on the streets and be a part of this cyber viewing craze, then I need a message and purpose behind what I’m doing. Although one of the most inspiring things that has come from this new age of accessible Internet art, is seeing that artists are now traveling the world painting walls from one land to the next, spreading their voice. Last year I spent time in Jamaica and this year I’m in South Africa, where half of my Dad’s side of the family live. With the desire to paint for purpose, I have embarked on a new painting project to highlight the plight of endangered animals, which, whilst it is difficult to be precise as many species die out without even being discovered, is a problem which continues to get worse.
Wednesday 20th February
I arrived in Capetown and sat down to indulge in peaches and juice with Indigo and her friend Raphael, at my adopted apartment for the month. By mid-afternoon on Thursday I had bought around 50 cans of paint and set to work planning my train journey up to Johannesburg. That evening I found myself in Woodstock for an art talk with Remed and Freddy Sam, which left me feeling even more amped for painting, not only during this trip but on walls around the world.
The Train to Johannesburg: Two Hours Down, 24 to Go
I’ve always wanted to take a long train journey, I’ve been on a fair few long bus journeys through South America but never a 26 hour train ride and the prospect is exciting. A few people tried to persuade me to take a flight but I won’t be told, I know when I need to tread a path, there’s an eternal passing landscape and for me, that’s the beauty of a train, the track always runs through the wilderness. Two hours in and I don’t know for sure but it seems that apart from some obvious heavy drinkers, I’m among a safe crowd. The sleeper cabins which are suggested for tourists were all full, so I’m in Third Class where all the action happens. I’m among clicks of Afrikaans and women singing, im quietly beaming.
Six Hours in a Tin Can
Blazing sun, tensions are rising, there’s now a genuine and palpable discomfort amongst some of the passengers. Is it the heat, is it the alcohol or is it just who they are? The afternoon sun draws to an end and I know it will start cooling down again soon, but not for a while. It’s time to listen to some music. Cigarette smoke fills my nostrils and burns my eyes. I can’t keep my eyes open longer than an hour, can’t keep them closed half of that. I’m learning my levels of tolerance.
I feel like I’m in a moving prison, my eyes are so heavy with sleep deprivation, my bowels expanded with no relief. Rumour has it we are sentenced to a two hour delay. The night got rowdy, people fought, young men prowled the train corridors looking for a pickup, everyone is drinking the boredom away. The morning is much quieter, we all shuffle on our seats looking for the next least uncomfortable position.
30 Hours Later
I’m here, I’m actually pulling into Johannesburg. Now can I go and paint please?
many thanks to ro elfberg for grammerising my punk ass