Obs residents rally to beautify subway

The Observatory station subway after it was cleaned up.

Observatory residents recently came together to spruce up its subway, which connects the east and west side, through a community arts project.

While walking through the subway, artist Tanya Bonello, and her friend came up with the idea to paint the subway using pixelation – painting each square a different colour.

“A couple of weeks ago my friend, Marco Giardini and I were walking through the subway one evening, and we spoke about how lovely it would be to paint the subway.

“We spoke to Edwin Angless and Tauriq Jenkins who are both on the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) committee. We got permission from all the necessary officials and as they say, ‘the rest is history’,” said Ms Bonello.

The project kicked off on Saturday May 25 and is expected to be complete in July as additional coats of paint are required.

Ms Bonello said the subway had been filled with graffiti tags, ugly scribbles and scrawls, the stench of urine and broken and missing tiles.

“Some of these underground spaces of transit along and underneath the main train line linking the city centre with Simon’s Town have for some time become filthy, dark and dangerous tunnels – places where one does not want to linger or pause for thought. All space is sacred and as such we as a community who love and cherish our neighbourhood chose to change the prevalent attitude towards this conduit by using colour and elbow grease to improve our lot,” she said.

Speaking on the style of painting, Ms Bonello said the white 15x15cm tiles of the subway were painted in a myriad of different colours randomly placed yet collectively they resonated harmoniously together.

“Each and every square had been treated equally. We are beautifying our neighbourhood literally from the underground up. Everyone who participated unanimously agreed that it was an ideal opportunity to meet and greet fellow community members while painting alongside one another.

“Many said it was therapeutic and uplifting and all felt good about beautifying our neighbuorhood,” she said.

Ms Bonello said children from the Mary Kihn School for the Hearing Impaired with some of their teachers painted the first tiles with Mr Angless and herself, followed by about 100 residents and pupils from Camps Bay High School (her alma mater).

OCA chairman Mr Jenkins said the community really came together for this project and he was proud of the work done. He said the space had been a “dark” one with many incidents taking place, but hoped this gesture would help to restore the subway and the way the community felt towards it.

Ms Bonello said they plan to paint the subway at Station Road a rainbow or prismatic treatment with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet stripes, followed by the planting of 40 orange trees around the neighbourhood.