Putting a splash of colour in Salt River

Yaseen Collins from Salt River takes a liking to art at the International Art Festival, which opened in Salt River on Friday February 10.

Salt River is getting a shot of artistic colour thanks to NGO Baz Art who launched their International Art Festival on Friday February 10.

Children joined the excitement as local and international artists set about painting their unique canvases – the blank walls situated in streets all over the area.

Residents had pledged their walls to the cause.

Baz Art created the festival to uplift the community and inspire an interest in art.

The influence on young community members could already be seen as children took up paint brushes alongside artists and tried their hand at painting.

“In a matter of days word got out and we gathered a whole community who had an interest in their house being painted. There is a need for street art to be recognised as an art as it is not always linked to drugs and violence. Artists also need to make a living out of it,” said festival organiser Alexandre Tilmans. “Creativity triggers something in the brain which mathematics or English can’t trigger. Some children in the community don’t have art classes so five schools will join us for workshops, which will be open for adults and kids,” said Tilmans.

Baz art co-founder, Sebastien Charrieras, hopes that the exhibition will uplift artists while transforming communities and help South African public art claim its rightful position in the global art space.

Ward 57 councillor Paddy Chapple thanked community members for opening their doors, walls and houses to the initiative. He pointed out that every road in Salt River was named after a poet and said he now looks forward to renaming streets after the new artists who are partaking in the project.

“The Salt River Neighborhood Watch members will be trained to become tour guides and take people to view the artworks. There was a lot of controversy over designs, especially in the Muslim community so some designs were changed.”

Artist WiseTwo from Nairobi, Kenya, started his art piece on one of the walls on the Shelley Street sports field and was joined by young community member Yaseen Collins who picked up a paint roller and joined the fun. “Every time you paint, you’re always enriching a community. Now I have a friend helping me. I love painting ancient things and painting in territories. I connect with people and inspire the neighbourhood with colour,” said WiseTwo.

The International Public Art Festival will continue to take place around Salt River until Sunday February 19, and act as the opening of Art Month in Cape Town. for more information visit www.ipa.co.za