A painting of a tropical fish tank in Strandfontein. Picture: Supplied
A painting of a tropical fish tank in Strandfontein. Picture: Supplied

Artists transform walls of profanity into beautiful murals

By Amber Court Time of article published Jan 10, 2021

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A painting of a tropical fish tank in Strandfontein. Picture: Supplied

Two local artists have brightened dull walls, covered with profanities, with colourful murals.

The duo, who use aliases LoveLeigh and Flowrinwatr (flower in water), aim to use their paint brushes to spread positivity.

Their work recently caused a stir on the Proudly Strandfontein Facebook page.

The duo asked a Strandfontein resident to cover a wall on their property.

Flowrinwatr painted this mural under a bridge close to Strandfontein. Picture: Supplied

The 28-year-old Flowrinwatr, originally from the Eastern Cape, is deeply humbled by the positive response his art received. “Painting public art that the community can appreciate and enjoy is why I am attracted to muralism.”

He has been painting murals for 10 years. Flowrinwatr explained they painted an ocean-inspired mural on the resident’s wall that took four hours to complete.

The wall, which faces a park, had graffiti on.

“We approached the family that lives there and asked their permission. We wanted to create something imaginative, colourful and beautiful to brighten up the park.”

The artist added in most people's minds, graffiti was associated with negative connotations, something done without permission or considered vandalism.

As an art form, graffiti, or aerosol art, has more to do with beautifying a challenging space where work can be seen for free rather than in restricted and exclusive gallery spaces.

The Cape Flats has a history of aerosol art and hip hop culture. Artists have been ”beautifying and inspiring their communities in resistance to the oppressive apartheid policies and spatial planning,” said Flowrinwatr.

His artwork re-imagines spaces and changed people's perceptions by visually asking questions and using iconography.

“I like to paint people in a struggle against the consumer elements of our society, moving towards a more organic existence. I am inspired by love and indigenous cultures.”

Fellow artist, 39-year-old LoveLeigh from Woodstock, said: “I like that people are interested to have more colours on the walls in their communities. I feel art is therapy. Therapy, not only for the artist, but for viewers of the art.”

He said they were inspired to create a tropical fish tank with seawater animals in the foreground and subtle underwater landscapes in the background.

“We were on our way to buy a quarter chicken and chips when we walked passed the wall. The owner's daughter was outside. So we asked to speak to her father and got the go ahead.”

The artist has been painting since 2007 and described his style as transformative, always evolving with satirical comment on modern society.

LoveLeigh added freedom of speech was necessary to challenge the status quo and foster creative and critical thinking.

“Restricting freedom of speech is not only oppressive but traumatising”

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