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Anotherlightup: street art and crowdfunding initiative

The Harvest mural seen from De Waal Drive. Photo © @makhulu_.

Since late 2013 I’ve been working on a pretty innovative project called #ANOTHERLIGHTUP, as project manager on behalf of Design Indaba and in collaboration with artist Faith47 and designer consultancy Thingking. #ANOTHERLIGHTUP is an exploration into how street art can leverage the power of crowd-funding to activate the public into helping create measurable change in their community. Basically we’re using street art and Twitter as a medium to raise funds for streetlights in a low-income community in Khayelitsha.

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I am because we are: Madiba mural by Ricky Lee Gordon

Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. This is the ethos of the ubuntu philosophy, which translates as ‘a person is a person through other people’. It is this mantra that both guided the life of Nelson Mandela and inspired the tribute painting to this giant of a man by Ricky Lee Gordon.

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Thanks for Nothing

This week Known Gallery presents Thanks for Nothing, an exhibition featuring new works by American artists Judith Supine and Alia Shawkat, and curated by Naheed Simjee.

One of my favourite contemporary US artists, Supine’s cigarette box works are reminiscent of the Surrealist movement’s “exquisite corpse” – and like the name elicit imagery like death, BDSM and other fetishisms.

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Free Mandela

Prolific Cape Town street artist and activist Faith47 is contesting the City of Cape Town’s by-laws against graffiti and street art, on the grounds that much of the work in and around Cape Town is tantamount to public heritage. The “Free Mandela!” slogan is a pertinent example – once found on a wall in Anzio Road in Observatory (you can still see it here in Google maps), but recently painted over by the City. Painted during Apartheid, the words are a simple yet powerful reminder of our country’s history and the atrocities committed at the time.

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The Sex and Cash Theory

In Hugh MacLeod’s book How to be Creative (downloadable as a PDF here), he talks about the Sex and Cash Theory.

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Belgium street artist Roa has taken over London’s East End with his massive black-and-white murals of animals, hand-painted on walls of derelict buildings. Starting his work in the quaint cobbled streets of his hometown of Ghent in Belgium, his work now decorates buildings all over Europe and in New York. This year he held his solo debut exhibition at Pure Evil Gallery in London, including original works on A4 paper, locker doors and even street works in the area.

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Public Perception is a poster-art exhibition currently showing at Resolution Gallery in Parktown, Johannesburg by South African artist Andrew Robertson.

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I recently spotted these massive portraits at the The Observatory Festival & Village of Arts Launch and was instantly struck by their street-meets-high art appeal - one which can become a little forced and tired, but in this case, for me, makes a really winning combination.

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On Friday 16th April, the new artist-collaboration clothing and skateboard brand, Verb, will be launching its first range of artist-series skateboards and clothing to the public at the City Slickers Poster Art Show in Cape Town.

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I recently interviewed Ron English for the latest issue of one small seed, on his ‘Art of Popaganda’ that attacks monopolisers of public space (corporates, government) who use deception to sell. Sometimes we call it propaganda. Sometimes we call it advertising. Call it what you will. Ron English draws attention to this blatant, shameless manipulation that perpetuates modern society in his artform called ‘subvertisements’.

In these, Ron takes existing ads, brands, even political campaigns, and creates spoofs out of them. MacDonalds is predictably one of the principal targets of his attack, along with Camel, US government, religion and war. With the former two he picks on the health factor, focussing specifically on the way in which they’re aimed at young people, usually children.

Some examples of these can be seen below:

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Thursday evening saw the opening of Volume III at Whatiftheworld in Woodstock, presenting the new body of work by Avant Car Guard. The Avant Car Guard collective are three Joburg creatives - Zander Blom, Jan-Henri Booyens and Michael MacGarry - all established artists in their own right, who work as a single entity to produce artworks that satirise the local contemporary art world and the South African political milieu in a way that is wry, dry, and goddamn funny.

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For those of you that haven’t been down to Whatiftheworld gallery lately, do yourselves a favour and fit a trip into your agenda sometime in the next two weeks. Last week Wednesday I went exhibition-opening hopping, and what started off rather horribly (taking a detour through Woodstock up the dodgiest alleyway we could find, to witness a pigeon being steamrolled by the truck tyre of the usual toothless bergie who seemed to get much satisfaction from making a white girl scream (sorry, I’m not from cape town - is it not very pc to refer to the locals as bergies? I haven’t worked it out yet) while five metres away a baby bergie played with the remains of another dead fowl… Just great to see how the other half live…) and continued less than well (sorry to the guys at Bell-Roberts, their current exhibition is a little more than disappointing), but, happily, ended on a super duper note as we arrived at whatiftheworld to find the best painting exhibition I’ve seen in a long time - so good in fact that I didn’t even care that the wine had run out.

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Highraff (Rafael Calazans) is a Brazilian artist who has been painting on the streets for many years. His first exposure to painting was graffiti. He was recently invited to create an important work at the Latin American Memorial in Sao Paulo and has exhibited at galleries such as Grafiteria in Sao Paulo and Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York. Last year he travelled in Europe painting the streets in France, Spain and Belgium.

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