FACES OF ART: Works of art by Nardstar, who is one of South Africa’s few successful commercial graffiti artists.
Cape Town - Gathering her inspiration from the indigenous plants, people and strength of women in her hometown Cape Town has seen local graffiti artist Nardstar go global.

Nardstar said she got into graffiti as a teenager through hip hop culture, and she explained that it's one of the five elements of hip hop.

Nardstar has now painted all around South Africa, in three cities in France and in four US cities.

“I always try to communicate a positive and encouraging message. The message might not be literal, but I hope it has that effect in the spaces that my art is painted. I hope that it adds to people’s lives and inspires others to paint too.”

More recently, her work has seen her being involved with the Nike Graffiti Project and the Obama Foundation Summit.

“I was invited by Nike to be part of a graffiti project at a new building on their world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The project was a celebration of New York City’s love for graffiti and basketball. There were 17 artists invited from all parts of the world, each with their own style and approach to graffiti and street art. I painted a portrait of Lisa Leslie, who is an incredible WNBA player. This was a continuation of my mission to celebrate women of colour in my art. It was a lot of fun meeting and painting alongside a group of amazingly talented humans.”

The Obama Foundation invited her to attend its first summit, which was held in Chicago.

“In addition to attending the summit, I was also invited to create an artwork for the event, so I decided to create a collaborative mural space that would allow people at the summit to get involved in the process of creating a mural. I encourage people to help me finish the mural by colouring in sections of my sketch of South African female activists Albertina Sisulu, Fatima Meer and Barbara Hogan.”

Last year she did a mural of female political prisoners at Constitution Hill in Joburg and said that piece “solidified my self-appointed responsibilities as a female artist”.

“It was a really educational experience. I got to learn more about each woman I painted because I researched their stories and it was also a trip to learn more about the history of Constitution Hill and the way our government treated what they called terrorists. I hope to meet all the women I painted there one day soon,” she said.

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Cape Argus