Since my trip to Portugal last December, I'll admit that I've become a bit obssessed by street art. What I saw in Lisbon – mostly vast wall paintings – took my breath away and little did I know that right under my nose in Cape Town was a beautiful collection of some of the finest large and small scale murals waiting for me, my camera and my Instagram feed. Nicole Biondi from Cape Town Tourism arranged for myself and Bianca Lee Coleman to do a walking tour in Woodstock, led by Juma Mkwela of Juma Art Tours. We met at Superette at the Woodstock Exchange – next time remind me to have their amazing vegetarian omelette with my excellent cup of Deluxe coffee before going anywhere.
The first stop is at the Side Street Studios, an art and design hub where owner Elad – if he is around that is – will talk you through this and that to do with street art and how and where it gets to be, or not, around the City. The route thereafter crisscrosses several blocks in the area and takes about 2.5 hours. Juma knows all about the various artists and explains the difference between murals, graffiti and gang tagging – it's fascinating and the art is world-class, a vast outdoor gallery of masterpieces created by big local and international names. From New Yorker Gia to Makatron from Australia, Masai Lou from London, Eliscer from Toronto, Ubanski from Germany and our own Cape Town based Freddy Sam, Faith 47 and her son, 16 year old James Fox. Included in the tour price is a stencil art workshop with Paul Senyol at his cool studio-come-apartment. As novices, our end products were quite impressive I might add.
Street art, be it sculptures, wheatpaste, graffiti, murals, posters or stickers, is an incredible form of expression and social commentary, uplifting urban precincts, turning dead concrete walls into a vibrant visuals and making art accessible to people who may never get to see the inside of a gallery.
So remember to keep your eyes open. Don't forget to look up.
Juma Art Tours: 073 400 4064.
* For excellent info re various types of street art: List Dose
ALL PHOTOS ALLISON FOAT