ape Town - Cape Town’s much anticipated street art festival, Baz-Art's International Public Art Festival (IPAF) will hit the streets in February.
Baz-Art was established in 2016 and is the force behind the eighth edition of the festival set to transform the streets of Cape Town into a vibrant canvas of public art and community engagement. Melissa Cucci, co-founder and creative director at Baz-Art, and co-founder of IPAF, spearheads this initiative with a vision to revolutionise “placemaking” through art.
In a statement, Cucci said as they unveil the eighth International Public Art Festival, “we are reminded that art is not just a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it”.
“At Baz-Art, we harness this transformative power of art to redefine spaces, to give voice to stories untold and to foster a sense of community. Our mission is to turn every wall, every street, every corner into a conversation, into an opportunity for change. Here in Cape Town, we're not just creating art, we're crafting the future, one brushstroke at a time.”
Baz-Art is calling the creating of public art projects “placemaking”.
“Placemaking is an innovative approach to transforming public spaces into vibrant community hubs through the power of art.
“Annually, IPAF curates a series of public art projects that not only beautify spaces but also stimulate social interaction, enhance urban safety, economic development and cultural exchange.
“This year, the festival begins with activations in The Company's Garden and unfolds throughout Cape Town's CBD, inviting the public to immerse themselves in a realm where art meets urban living.
“Placemaking is synonymous with safemaking,” Cucci explained. “By enlivening neglected areas, we're taking pride in our spaces and making them welcoming for everyone. Placemaking through public art is posited as a beacon of change, potentially marking the beginning of an era where creativity and community collaboration can transform a space and make it more accessible, secure and engaging.”
One such example exists in the heart of Gugulethu, the iThemba Walkway.
Roshana Naidoo, director and community facilitator at Baz-Art, said, “The walkway is a symbol of what public space should be: a democratic platform that invites diverse voices and encourages dynamic, collaborative growth. Through IPAF, we extend this philosophy, showcasing how public art catalyses not just aesthetic enhancement but also communal well-being and integration.”
Baz-Art's innovative approach to placemaking contributes significantly to the safety and comfort of urban spaces. Over the years, Baz-Art has had a considerable impact on communities by fostering job creation, stimulating tourism, and celebrating heritage. Through these initiatives, Baz-Art has demonstrated that public art and placemaking are potent tools for community development and social change.
From its inception, IPAF has been a platform for street artists to showcase their talents and for communities to engage with art in a way both accessible and impactful.
Marina Capdevila, an internationally acclaimed Spanish artist participating in IPAF 2024, said that through her art, she not only seeks to reflect on life's depth but also to illuminate and secure the spaces we share.
Capdevila is known for her playful portraits of the elderly in candid nostalgic moments, which brighten streets and ignite conversation.
“In bringing the wisdom and warmth of our elders into public view, we cast a light that deters the shadows of uncertainty and fear. The vibrant exaggerations in my works are more than artistic expressions; they are the guardians of our communal areas, inviting viewers to engage not just with the art but with each other in a safer, more connected environment.
“At IPAF 2024, my aim is to demonstrate how art can transform public spaces into creative havens, where negative stereotypes are dismantled and every generation can walk with a sense of belonging,” says Capdevila.
IPAF 2024 is set to contribute not only to the aesthetic landscape but also to economic development. This year's theme, “CoACT | CoLLAB”, focuses on creative collaboration across various disciplines, sectors and cultures.
Under the guidance of Cucci, artists will be partnered with key experts from diverse fields to create large-scale public art projects.
These collaborations aim to strengthen ties between sectors and countries, fostering advancements in Africa's creative economy.
Baz-Art said looking ahead, IPAF continues to contribute to the placemaking movement, working hand in hand with the City of Cape Town in steering the city towards a future where public art plays a critical role in urban safety.
“Our goal is to ensure that each project not only tells a story but also contributes to the well-being of its audience,” Cucci says. “This is the essence of IPAF's mission: to create art that resonates with the soul of the city and safeguards its heart.”
Discover the vibrant streets of Cape Town with a guided tour of the International Public Arts Festival, from February 14 to 18, 2024, at The Company’s Garden. Book your tour via Quicket.