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THE DEFINITIVE AFRICAN GRAFFITI & STREET ART WEBSITE.

This blog features news, pictures and event info to keep you updated with what is happening in the world of South African graffiti and street art.

FRIDAY FEATURE #3: Street Art in South Africa

Photographs by Klaus Warschkow, except where stated.
Words: GraffitiSouthAfrica.com ©

What is Street Art?

Street art is more than just graffiti. It’s a broad term commonly used to describe art found in public space – from stickers and stencils, to paste-ups and installations and more traditional graffiti. It’s a means of expression evoking a rich spectrum of thoughts, captivating the viewer. With a variety of themes and ideas, from social and political awareness to plain visual poetry, this art form continues to gain momentum.

Some regard it as vandalism and not public art, but most artists try to create something meaningful – beautifying a run-down building, reclaiming a forgotten space. Street art is more than a tag, or moniker to gain fame. It provokes us to think and feel with more depth in an otherwise sterile environment. Street artists dare to bring greater vibrancy, colour and fluidity into drab and monotonous urban superstructures. It is non-elitist and invites the public to reclaim their right to shared spaces. It provokes freedom of expression, greater individualism and diversity.

Freddy Sam, Cape Town bus terminal

Faith47, Cape Town

The international street art scene is thriving with a growth of amazingly talented and diverse artists and great exhibitions and festivals. Cape Towns Faith47 has been travelling abroad to paint and exhibit her work which is both entertaining and educating. She was recently in Hawaii for the Pow Wow Festival.

The Long Wait’ by Faith47 in Johannesburg - A wheatpaste series commenting on the high rate of unemployment. Photo by Derek Smith

Graffiti VS Street Art

A whole debate surrounds street art – is it graffiti? Many see graffiti as being more letter-based and street art as a variety of elements. Others downright think that street art is not cool. The beauty of the debate is that they have a symbiotic relationship, each evolving separately, but provoking one another to reach new frontiers.

Despite the friction between the two, we respect anyone who puts anything up in the streets. This keeps it interesting, diverse and colourful.

Galleries and art collectors are diving into this market. Banksy, Blu and Mr Brainwash have had works displayed in South Africa. Augustine Kofie, American ‘graffuturist’ artist, painted live at an exhibition at Lovell Gallery in Cape Town last year.

Augustine Kofie piece in Cape Town. He came from a graffiti background and is part of the new ‘graffuturist’ movement.

Street Art in South Africa

While modern graffiti is still very new in South Africa it has, nevertheless, spread rapidly in recent years. When seen on a global scale, the South African scene is very youthful, but is quickly gaining maturity.

For years graffiti artists have dominated the streets. Those that spray their stencil often fade away soon after starting. Things are changing. Urban art is becoming more popular as internationally acclaimed artists visit our shores.

Remed (France), Cape Town

Dal East (China), Cape Town

Unknown Artist, Cape Town

Freddy Sam & Christiaan Conradie, Cape Town

The /A Word Of Art Residency Programme has brought many street artists to Cape Town and Johannesburg. Highlights include the 5-man collective called BoaMistura from Spain and the Acrylic Walls project with Gaia (USA), Franco ‘Jaz’ Fasoli (Argentina) and Know Hope (Israel).

Gaia (USA), Cape Town

Jaz (Argentina), Cape Town

Acrylic Walls Johannesburg mural. Photo by Derek Smith

Other artists who have participated in the residency are Above (USA), Tika (Switzerland), Indigo (Canada), Yumanizumu (Japan), Scott Sueme (Canada), Remed (Spain), LX One (France), Mike Makatron (Australia), Hannah Parr (UK), Mymo (Germany), Pascal Paquette (Canada), David Shillinglaw (UK), Elicser Elliott (Canada) and Andrzej Urbanski (Germany).

Yumanizumu (Japan), Cape Town

Wesley Van Eeden, Cape Town

Masai (UK) works on a new mural in Cape Town. His recent works create awareness of the declining animal population.

Masai and Breeze from Klaus Warschkow on Vimeo.

Kasi (Breeze), Cape Town

South, Cape Town

Andrzej Urbanski, a Polish-born artist, has relocated from Berlin to Cape Town. “I fell in love with this city…. The street art scene here is small but very good. There’s a lot of creative people and a rising 



art community.”

He sees himself as a ‘contemporary street artist’ working in studio and in the streets. “Being out in the streets and sharing with the community is very special. The people of Cape Town are very interested and helpful. I really made a lot of good friends in the community while I painted.”

Urbanski & Elicser, Cape Town. Photo by Urbanski

Urbanski, Cape Town. Photo by Urbanski

Interesni Kazki’s AEC is currently here as part of the residence programme and has already painted one wall (with only brushes). Along with Waone, this Ukrainian duo live up to the meaning of their name painting “interesting fairy tales”.

AEC (Interesni Kazki) completed piece and progress shots in Cape Town

I Art SA is another project that has been developed by /A Word Of Art and features a range of artists and styles. This project took place in Woodstock (Cape Town), Soweto (Johannesburg) and Johannesburg City.

With his endemic animal paintings, internationally acclaimed artist ROA was one of the featured artists at I Art Joburg last year. The exhibition opened last night in Cape Town. Photo by Derek Smith


Open City

Last weekend, a group of creative individuals met up in downtown Johannesburg for an event they called ‘Open City’. The aim: “To make the city pretty”…

“I do this a lot. Whenever I’ve got chalk, I bomb. I make it normal. I’m not special… The streets are yours. Be the art you want to see in the world!” - Andrew, event organiser


Freddy Sam working on a mural in Johannesburg for WWF. Photo by Derek Smith

Mooki’s street art in Durban

Hundreds of painted stencils adorn the walls of Grahamstown, a quaint student town in the Eastern Cape. Many are attributed to a Mr Stevenson.

Hannelie Coetzee, chipped wood piece in Johannesburg

Kevin Love, wood blocks in Johannesburg

This ‘dog’ pasteup is found all over Johannesburg


Grant Jurius

We recently discovered the work of Cape Towns Grant Jurius and asked him why he does street art…

I love street life! The most inspiring artists are street artists – at least for me. The street is raw and real. It feeds me and I feed back.

What do you want to evoke?

I want people to think about a piece and create a sense of feeling of some sort… I use figures because I like the human figure and I think people relate to it.

How long have you actively been working in the streets?

I only recently had the confidence to start putting up bolder pieces. In 2011, I started drawing on paper and then progressed to more defined paintings. Then I started doing the opposite by placing work in the street.

Artwork and photos by Grant Jurius


Another proclaimed street art duo is Herakut from Germany. They will participate in the City of Gold Urban Arts Festival in Johannesburg next month along with Kid Kréol & Boogie (Reunion Island), Pose MSK (USA) and local artists.

>> Check out our Street Art gallery

Additional pics:

Click ‘next’ to view more images…

(Various artists in Cape Town)

EVENT \\ AWOA Artist Talk: 2 May 2012

The next /A Word Of Art Artist Talk takes place on May 2nd in Cape Town. The event starts at 6pm and features six international creatives namely Pascal Paquette, Bikes, Scott Sueme, Elicser Elliott, Jalani Morgan and Catherine J Howard.

For more info on the event and all the artists who will be speaking click HERE.

>> RSVP on facebook

EVENT \\ AWOA Artist Talk

/A WORD OF ART is proud to present their second artist talk. The talk will be held at the temporary residence while renovations are being completed on the previous space at the Woodstock Industrial Centre. Please come by to see what each artist has been working on during their time in Cape Town – studios will be open to the public, and each talk will be accompanied by a slideshow presentation.

This month’s speakers are:

  • Catherine J. Howard (Durham, NC) is a visual artist, an art technique/art history instructor and curator. She is currently running a project about community and social awareness in collaboration with Percy Bartley house.
    http://www.catherinejhoward.com/

  • Elicser Elliott (Toronto, Canada) is an aerosol artist who also works with animation, 3 dimensional sculpture/installation and acrylics/mixed media. He draws inspiration from the people and environments from his daily life, translating their images with his unique perception and gestural style.
    http://www.elicser.com/

  • Victoria Potter (Vancouver, Canada) is a photographer on the run. With portraiture and urban documentation as her primary focus, she enjoys traveling to find her next subjects.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blindphotography/

  • Andrzej Urbanski’s (Berlin, Germany) work consists of paintings and objects of experimental forms, shapes, geometrical structures and a wide range of color-segments. These shapes, lines and segments are often taken directly from physical objects in the world around him, stripped to their basic geometries, rendered both 2 dimensionally and 3 dimensionally with clean edges and opaque surfaces.
    http://aurbanski.com/

Where: 3 Garrick Road, University Estate, Cape Town
When: Thursday March 29th, 6-7:30pm

>> MORE INFO

>> RSVP on Facebook