The International Public Art Festival (IPAF), one of Africa’s largest and most anticipated public art festivals, took place over the weekend producing many firsts for the festival. The assortment of twenty-three remarkable artworks includes installations, sculptures, digital artworks, outdoor pop-up exhibitions, performances, street art tours, and much more still on display for the public to reflect on.
Lauren Fletcher, project and IPAF Manager says, “We are incredibly proud of the messages and creativity that the artists put into their works, showing care and insight about what stories are reflected in and reflective of our public spaces. We saw statements about what it means to be an active citizen and to take a stand against the wrongs in the world, we saw tributes to our ancestors, tributes to Africa’s power, a celebration of Cape Town as well as an acknowledgement of the hardships of the immigrant experience to name a few. These powerful and important artworks are there for all to experience and share in our public spaces in the CBD.”
Artists creatively installed thought-provoking public artworks across the Mother City, curated according to the festival theme, “What if?”. Through their artworks, artists looked back to alternative histories and peered forward toward speculative fiction, all while questioning the current status quo and accepted norms. This year’s theme sought to push the boundaries of the ‘known’ to expand minds, spaces and societies. Although the festival has ended, visitors can still explore the best street and public art pieces that Cape Town has to offer by downloading the festival’s tour maps.
Alexandre Tilmans, the co-founder of Baz-Art, encourages those who missed IPAF to embark on a free DIY tour using the maps as a guide to discover the latest IPAF murals that paint a fascinating picture of Cape Town and Africa at large.
Here are the walls from the IPAF 2023:
Baz-Art’s Cape Town Life mural came together as a collaboration with an illustration studio, Studio Muti and artists, Mernette Swartz and DekorOne. The large-scale public art piece, called Cape Town Life, portrays a colourful collage depicting various aspects of living in Cape Town – from landmarks to flora and fauna and other diverse cultural elements unique to the Mother City. The hand drawn aesthetic uses illustrations to showcase the many different forms of commuting and includes some local food and drink delicacies that remain truly Capetonian.
Richie’s artwork hopes to raise awareness around some of the difficulties faced by highly-skilled Zimbabweans in South Africa. “My work is based on people who migrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa for greener pastures due to the hardships they’ve faced in Zim. After migrating, Zimbabweans struggle to get documentation such as work permits, making it impossible to earn a decent living while holding a degree. Eventually they need to do vendor or domestic work in order to earn some form of income. When they get wages they buy themselves nice clothes from bargain shops so that they’re able to send money back home,” says Richie.
France-based artist, JonOne’s piece titled, The Zulu Dance, was inspired by the diversity South Africa embodies as a country. “I tried to do something with the colours of the flag, where each colour represents something significant about the history and the future of SA. When you look at the mural, I think you can also imagine it’s an African wax”, says JonOne.
In line with this year’s festival theme, ‘What if’, Ralarno’s piece poses the question ‘What if children played outside again?’. In the artist’s understanding, the younger generation spends less time outside and more time on their cell phones which can lead to bigger issues later in life. The artwork was created using reverse graffiti involving the use of cleaning techniques to create images on dirty surfaces. It works by selectively removing dirt from the surface, leaving behind a pattern or design. The result is a temporary, environmentally-friendly artwork that highlights the contrast between cleanliness and pollution in urban environments.
Augmented reality street art is a form of public art that uses technology to enhance the viewer’s experience. Baz-Art wanted to combine physical street art with digital elements that are superimposed onto the artwork, often creating an interactive and immersive experience. The result is a blend of the physical and virtual worlds, transforming the urban landscape into a canvas for artistic expression.