Photo: Supplied
Cape Town – Earlier this year, grafitti artists from Cape Town set out on a mission to paint the area of Elands Bay up the West Coast.

Known as a region inhabited by surfers and fishermen, the West Coast is a step back in time, with abandoned buildings littering the landscape and a long history of wall painting, but up until now, only really in caves.

Artists AwehMIgo, LoveLeigh, FokAlles and Marti Lund said with this mission, they had set out to break free from the censorship of their art form and from the hustle and bustle in Cape Town.

They had wanted to “gift spaces their skill and colour” as a way of rooting themselves in their country, and so the mission was named “This is Not Allowed”.

Speaking to the Cape Times on their return, Lund said the process of getting consent to use walls in the city was a long one and dependent on the interest of the stakeholders involved.

Leaving had meant less bureaucracy, more space, and more freedom.

“We visited one of the many caves littering the southern Cape coastal areas that contain the visual remnants of Khoi hunter-gatherer culture, along with their paintings and hundreds of hand prints.

‘‘These were the original creatives, not only our cultural forefathers, but our creative predecessors.

“This set the tone - an ode to the forefathers and mothers who first put paint on walls.”

“Considering that we were painting without permission, in a highly visible space (on abandoned buildings), this affirmation definitely helped keep the mood up,” he said.

Each piece was a challenge, imposed by the artists; be it in size, complexity, using only local inspiration or a new approach to planning the piece.

The meteor shower on the first night, the stillness of the space, the cave paintings and the surrounding dry estuaries created endless content for creation, the artists said.

“In the end, it was the contrast that became an underlying narrative of the trip. The untouched feel of the natural environment where painted was so incredibly contrasting to the concrete jungle.

“New buildings and the eternal expansion and upgrading of the city was a long way away from the rubble and broken walls of those abandoned buildings,” said Lund.

Cape Times