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Public Art for a More Livable City

In Cape Town, urban art is effecting real change.

Faith47, one of South Africa's most famed contemporary artists, is known for her stunning street murals. Lyall Sprong is one of the founders of the designer-maker consultancy "Thingking" based in Woodstock, and works with industrial materials to give meaning to design and art objects. The two collaborated with the Design Indaba Trust and the organisation Violence Preventing through Urban Upgrading (VPUU), to embark on the project, "Another Light Up." The endeavour sought to bridge the separate spaces of the Cape Town city centre and Monwabisi Park in the informal settlement of Khayelitsha.

The mural lights up every time a new streetlight is erected. Photo by @makhulu

The mural lights up every time a new streetlight is erected. Photo by @makhulu

While enjoying the security and comfortable living of the CBD, one forgets that 30 kilometres away entire communities fear walking outside their homes at night. For those who live in Monwabisi Park, the only access to clean water is through public water taps. The pathways from homes to the taps have become regular sites of crime, largely because the paths are not lit up at night.

"Another Light Up" brings awareness of this issue to the CBD, while providing citizens with the opportunity to help.  A multi-story piece entitled "The Harvest," was erected in District Six next to De Waal Drive; Faith47 designed and painted the mural, and ThingKing installed an intricate lighting system on top of the mural's image. Each time enough funds are raised to build one streetlight on the community pathway, the entire mural lights up for an evening. In addition, any time an individual tweets "#AnotherLightUp," the mural lights up momentarily.

The work strives to link two very separate regions of the city, and serves as a constant reminder of the work currently being done, and what still needs to occur, in order for all citizens to feel safe in their city.

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