as it happens...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

CAPETOWN, SLEEPYTOWN; lets paint this town.

It has suddenly dawned upon me that I have two weeks left, well less, in fact if I’m going to utilise my collective airmiles I had better get my tins and caps shakin’, rattlin’ and rollin’.

I have always been a huge fan of Faith 47’s work and Dal East has, in recent times, been hugely inspirational for me. These guys have recently been popping in and out of just about everywhere globally and so finding them in Capetown at the same time as me was a blessing. Further more to then find myself sat in their studio drinking some very potent but delicious green tea, reasoning about art projects and my plans in South Africa, seemed somewhat mad. They are seriously humble people and so generous with their time, offering to take me up to a dance-hall on the weekend and even help acquire permission for the walls I’m trying to find.

After an hour or so of conversation I was feeling super amped, must have been the green tea, I set foot into Woodstock to look for some walls. Freddy Sam took me through some of the areas that he and fellow artists have painted and helped me establish which walls would be good to try and paint. I returned home with about 5 or 6 possible walls for the week ahead, a good day.. and good days need good evenings so what better than a short movies screening.

I woke with the sun shinning, a rarity in Africa of course, very excited to get out and start painting a wall. The planned destination was a blue alcove in front of sombody’s home, with a nice bit of architecture on top. However the owner, despite prior consent, had changed his mind and asked for no animals, stating it was against his Muslim faith; flowers would be fine but not animals, oh well… onwards. There were so many other walls but now I needed to find one the right shape for the piece I’d prepped.  Half an hour later, a door knock and I was painting my blue crane before the clock had even striked 10am.

The blue crane is South Africa’s national bird, a 3ft tall beautiful blue bird which enjoys dry grassy uplands. However for the past 32 years these guys have been declining in numbers. They are most common in areas where disturbance by humans and their cattle is relatively low but unfortunately that is exactly why their numbers have decreased, as the human population swells and farmland takes over the cranes are forced out.  The conversion of grasslands into commercial tree plantations and both accidental and deliberate poisoning are largely to blame. Within the last two decades, they have rapidly disappeared from the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, and Swaziland, the population in the northern Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West Province has declined by up to 90%.

I was blessed with this location by a very supportive garage and its mecanics who seemed to like my crane and were saddened to learn about their current vulnerable position. I have to say these guys had me fooled several times during the course of the day as I could have sworn they were arguing, but no just discussing and laughing… T.I.A

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