Faith47 is a street artist from Cape Town, best known for her cityscape murals around the world. Another Light Up combines her public art with the potential of crowd-funding to erect streetlights in Khayelitsha.
The artwork known as The Harvest can be seen from De Waal Drive, outbound from Cape Town, on the wall of a residential building in District Six. This is the second mural by Faith47 to fill the wall and its prominent position has fast made it a Cape Town landmark.
Faith47 describes The Harvest as: “Manifesting abundance, reaping reward for hard work, becoming active instead of complaining. Amongst other things.”
So why aren’t we seeing another washing powder billboard? “Divine Intervention,” says Faith47. Which is certainly the case for the residents of Monwabisi Park, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Cape Town.
The collaboration between Faith47, thingking and Design Indaba Trust works like this: every time enough money is raised for one new light in Monwabisi Park – the lights are being erected alongside a 700m pathway that connects the site to community water taps that have been installed in the area – the wall lights up for one night, and tweeting #anotherlightup turns the lights on momentarily…
We spoke with the artist about her latest contribution to Cape Town’s cityscape.
Okay so, how difficult is it working on a wall this big?
This specific wall was quite physically exhausting thanks to Cape Town’s south easter gale force winds. One always needs to deal with the grand elements of nature , rain, heat etc. which can be quite demanding, especially when working on scaffolding and having to climb up and down a hundred times a day. You keep leaving the thing you need on a platform a few levels below, and it becomes like a form of sport really.
You’ve exhibited in galleries all over the world, but is painting on walls better?
I love both. The process of working for months on a body of work for an exhibition is really fulfilling. You can explore and dissect the theme, the feeling it creates and this internal dialogue brings about profound changes and insights. A mural is more instantaneous, more pop in a sense, but it also has a certain experiential element that one cannot get within ones studio.
How important is it for your work to convey a message in its aesthetic?
It’s not important to me to have any message attached to my work. I’m self absorbed in my creative process, and I believe in our ability as humans to resonate with each other. So by creating works that are true to how you are feeling internally, people can either understand and reflect that visual language within themselves, or not – depending on their disposition. It’s the same as music, everyone has different tastes, but when you hear something that is made from the heart, it is difficult not to feel something stir inside yourself.
You’d done the piece prior to The Harvest. How different was the view this time around?
This time around I had a lot more interaction with the local residents, which was pretty eye opening. Its a very strange space, in limbo in a sense, hovering over the mourning hills of District Six, quite economically depressed, very naughty kids, a bit rough on the edges, but very good people with true character and soul. I also witnessed many street people hiding their beds in the fields at night, and getting removed by council vans on a daily basis.
The social media element is cool. Does it make any sort of difference to you how people interact with your work?
This project was an experiment, an attempt of making a wall that has a more interactive element to it, which connects locations that are geographically segregated – such as Khayelitsha and Cape Town’s City Bowl, and giving people the opportunity to actively contribute to others who are living in a very dangerous place. We’re all living in the same city, but our experiences are worlds apart. Having no lights at night, when you need to walk to collect water, is really scary in dense high crime zone. A lot of us can’t even imagine what that is like. So this was a way to see if we could bridge that gap, a little.
It’s also a first time collaboration with myself and Thingking, which was really fun, and hopefully will lead to new collaborations in the future. They worked some magic into the lighting installation, which is so beautiful at night, it gives the mural a whole different, more mystical, feeling at night. The twitter element is fun too, you can tweet #anotherlightup and the lights will turn on for a bit , try it!