The monumental murals sponsored by Baz Art through their annual International Public Art Festival hosted annually is slowly transforming the city into a powerful canvas upon which diverse views and visions are expressed. Some more political and some purely aesthetic, but all awe inspiring.
The scale and skill illustrated through spray cans and wall paints makes you stop and stare and wonder… While walking through the old streets of Salt River, it’s complex history also comes up and Craig explains passionately about the space now enchanted through the street art. His involvement as a volunteer guide at the festival enabled him to witness how the murals were painted by the various artists. He gives an amazing inside view on the complexities behind the creation of these artworks. Through engaging with the artists, he also learned about the different themes and meanings behind the work from the artists themselves.
Example of itinerary
What to expect
The two hour street art walking tour in Salt River, Cape Town covers 3 km (just short of 2 miles) and covers over 55 amazing public artworks with more than 40 murals made by South African artists. The route goes through Cape Town’s old working class neighborhood of Salt River, an area that became South Africa’s first industrial hub outside of mining, when the clothing manufacturing industry became established at the end of the 1800’s. This grew into Cape Town’s largest industry, sadly globalization and the import of cheap goods from Asia brought it to its knees in the 1990’s, causing an economic decline.
Recently a transformation of some old industrial premises has brought its benefits, but residents are wary of the threat of gentrification which has already affected some similar neighbourhoods in the city with drastic consequences for the poor.
The walk meanders through Salt River’s light industrial area as well as the friendly residential streets where a strong sense of neighbourhood can be felt. Both areas have been brightened by art works, most of them created as part of the annual
International Public Art Festival, guided by themes which encourage positive messaging to start conversations among locals and visitors alike. This is a delightful way not only to enjoy the works of talented artists in their many different styles, but also to explore a very pleasant neighbourhood one would otherwise be unlikely to experience as a visitor.