Art: Street (he)Art, Or Wall And All And All

September 27, 2014



Perspective is an integral part of any discussion, and to demonstrate this, take a look at the episode of Carte Blanche on which the team presented a segment about street art and in particular the works of Cape Town artist Faith 47.

Her work was portrayed as exceptional – which it is – but having been in Durban’s Warwick Trading Area to see her work, I am left thinking that it’s necessary to consider a few things.

First, almost all the shots that Carte Blanche used were of the art during off-peak periods, showing a completely different picture to what you see when hundreds of thousands of people descend on the Warwick Trading  Area – which is essentially a taxi rank and flea market.

Secondly, the TV show ensured that there was more than sufficient lighting each time the camera zoomed on the towering pieces – again, something the average art enthusiast would not experience on a typical day.

If graffiti is not your cup of tea, maybe think of something that all of us can relate to: a chair, but not just any chair. Rather, think of the most beautiful and glorious chair that the world’s most revered chair designer has ever produced and your butt cheeks have ever experienced. In the designer’s studio, with chair critics and the public all falling over themselves to have this one chair, it is magnificent specimen,  but then you take it home. This is where your partner simply sits on it without uttering a single word and your children see it as just another chair. Does that take away from its beauty? Decide for yourself.

Faith 47’s  visionary work contributes to the street art phenomenon that is slowly turning a once frowned-upon format into part of a solution. What joy she must feel each time she sits in her Woodstock studio and is called by local and international art lovers to create one of her masterpieces.

Someone labelled the feelings of regret after an in-store purchase, made under the influence of a sly salesperson, soothing music and a free cup of strawberry-flavoured Rooibos, “buyer’s remorse”.

For me, Faith 47’s offerings evoke the exact opposite of that feeling, where I am so surprised and utterly taken aback by what I see that I want to buy what is not on sale. We need a phrase for that.