French-Swiss artist Saype brings his impressive ’Beyond Walls’ series to SA, where he uses eco-friendly paint to create a unity embrace between two arms, highlighting solidarity and peace. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
French-Swiss artist Saype brings his impressive ’Beyond Walls’ series to SA, where he uses eco-friendly paint to create a unity embrace between two arms, highlighting solidarity and peace. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Artwork of longest human chain around the world now in Cape Town

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jan 29, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - Grounds at the Sea Point promenade, Phillipi and Langa were converted into a large canvas for international artist Saype.

Saype, with collaborating partner Baz-Art, showcased the enormous artwork as part of the ‘Beyond Walls’ exhibition held at Sea Point promenade on Monday morning.

The Swiss-French artist, residing in Switzerland, is named Guillaume Legros but goes by the name Saype.

The exhibition features three of Saype’s unique biodegradable frescoes artwork made of mainly chalk and charcoal, on grass and sometimes ground, in Cape Town, found at the promenade, Philippi Village and Buwga Square in Langa.

The artwork, depicting the grasping of two hands, can be seen on similar grounds (and others) in Paris, Andorre, Genève, Berlin, Ouagadougou, Yamoussoukro, Turin and Istanbul, and now Cape Town, with the artist’s intent to form a human chain across nations.

Around 50 local professionals and artists came together to see these works realised.

Through his Instagram page, Saype said the Mother City had represented the ninth piece of his global project, ‘Beyond Walls’.

“Striving to overcome and recover from the dark times of apartheid, South Africa constitutes a crucial milestone for ‘Beyond Walls’. The gigantic hands, painted in three different places of the city, symbolises the reconciling will of Nelson Mandela by linking beyond social and economic inequalities, the three districts of Sea Point, Philippi and Langa. I therefore hope that my artworks may be a modest contribution to reconcile humans at the heart of a city still healing from its wounds,” said Saype.

The exhibition also comes as the City readies itself for the annual International Public Art Festival hosted by Baz-Art, commencing from February 10-14 .

Baz-Art co-founder Alexandre Tilmans said the collaboration was that of a supportive and facilitative role.

“A year ago, at the international public art festival, we invited Swiss artists and when the Swiss embassy came to check on the festival and visit the artwork, then we discussed the potential of having Saype come and perform his art – so, since last year, we worked on permits, ideal locations and prepared everything so that when he arrives, everything will be ready and he could do his best work and leave Cape Town a beautiful piece of art,” said Tilmans.

“The message of the artwork is definitely a message of humanity and hope. We do believe that each and every art piece creates a dialogue, that people start conversing as soon as they see an art piece and this one was the handshake and the hands being together, meaning that we are all together despite the pandemic, the difficulties of this year, that we are all together and that we can go through anything if we all stand united, despite any differences that we may have,” added Tilmans.

Premier Alan Winde said: "I am very excited that Cape Town is one of the cities chosen to be part of the ’Beyond Walls’ initiative. Cape Town is the ninth city, out of 30, to become part of this global artwork. These artworks not only connect us with the rest of the world, but placing them in Sea Point, Langa and Philippi links these spaces in our own city. Covid-19 and the lockdown has been a difficult time for many artists, performers, galleries and cultural attractions, and I urge residents to support this sector however they can.”

Cape Argus

Share this article: