Artists thank Cape Town with Bo-Kaap mural

By Time of article published Jul 4, 2006

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By Nadia Noor

International artists Nasser Palangi and his wife Farideh Zariv have decided to paint a mural in Wale Street to capture the essence of Bo-Kaap's heritage and as a dedication to the youth of the city.

The two, who were born in Iran but live in Australia, are known for their murals in many parts of the world. They are currently visiting Cape Town.

After completing The Hand of Fatima exhibition at the Bo-Kaap Museum, they were grateful for the warm welcome from locals and wanted to give something back.

"We felt we had a relationship with the community," said Palangi.

The owner of Tana-Baru tours in Bo-Kaap, Shereen Habib, shared their idea and together they found a wall for the mural. The selected arch forms part of the City of Cape Town's "adopt a plot" programme.

The programme involves residents contributing to the aesthetic beauty of the area as reflected in the brightly coloured homes. The mural will serve as a tourist attraction in Bo-Kaap.

Palangi, along with members of the Civic Association, sifted through old archives of Cape Town's heritage and selected particular photographs with historic value.

The photographs reflect the culture of Malay and Indonesian slaves, brought to the Cape in the early 1600s.

Habib said it was important to get pictures of the history of Bo-Kaap so that children could trace their heritage. She said the background of a child provided a better vision to where he or she was going.

"Without affinity of where you come from, you can't have a future." said Habib. "The youth need to be proud of where they come from."

Dr Cassiem D'Arcey, who was involved in the selection of the pictures, said the mural was significant for the whole community, especially the youth.

"Without a foundation of where you come from, you can't build a future," he said.

He said that ethnically, South Africa was very diverse, and the mural was therefore a good way to highlight a culture that was brought to the Cape, the Cape-Muslim contribution.

Among other things, the mural will depict ancestral events and portraits.

Palangi is hoping to get locals involved and appealed to the community to assist in preserving the paintings.

"Everybody has a responsibility in taking care of it," he said.

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