The city’s largest public art mural, by Belgian street artist Bart Smeets, was unveiled in Harrington Street. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Organisers of the city's largest public art mural say they will continue to foster Cape Town being the art capital of Africa, after the unveiling of the mural in Harrington Street.

The artwork will, for the next 11 days, act as an extension of - and billboard for - the third International Public Art Festival, which takes place in Salt River between February 9 and 17 next year.

Belgian street artist Bart Smeets (better known as Smates) started the work last week and visitors came by to see him create the 400m² artwork.

BAZ-ART, the NGO that runs the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) collaborated with the Flanders Embassy in Pretoria, and with Flanders State-of-the-Art in Belgium, to bring Smeets to Cape Town to create the massive public artwork.

Baz-Art founder Alexandre Tilmans said they were relieved that the work was completed. “It's a big achievement for Cape Town to have such a nice and big piece of work in the middle of town. Everything was completed in due time and according to plan, and we hope it will continue to foster Cape Town being the art capital of Africa.”

The artwork came out even better than initially imagined since Smeets incorporated ideas and comments of the neighbours.

“If you walk in the street you will see people looking up, taking pictures and talking about it, which is a very good sign that the piece is well received.

"It is amazing to see the reaction of people, as it is one of the first times that they see such a big public art piece,” said Tilman. 

“We hope it's the beginning of a new era, where more large wall art will appear in Cape Town and in South Africa - inspiring the public, the residents, the neighbours, the kids and the community - and that those future pieces of work will communicate positive art educational messages.”

BAZ-ART and more than 70 local and international artists have transformed the streets of Salt River into an open-air national art gallery, featuring over 100 public artworks through IPAF over the past two years.

Cape Times