Three taxis ferried about 30 guests to a part of Parow where art is helping to change a community for the better, thanks to a project by the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) and the City of Cape Town.
The Art-in-Action Tour, which was launched on Wednesday June 22, features six murals by six different contributors and has been a year in the making, according to the GTP’s CEO Chris O’Connor.
“The Parow precinct is rich in diversity, and we wanted to get the residents excited about their space, and what better way than with art? We are bringing art to the people and want them to own the space they work and live in,” he said.
The area around Parow station was a hive of activity as the guests, including the artists, their friends, City officials and a few locals, went on a walking tour of the area, while vendors stared curiously at the new faces. GTP launched the Bellville 12-Mile Tour, which encourages people to visit restaurants and businesses in the Voortrekker Road Corridor and Bellville CBD, on Friday June 3 (“GTP tour revitalises Voortrekker corridor,” Northern News Thursday June 9), and Mr O’Connor said the Parow project was a continuation of that initiative.
The first stop on the tour was a mural by Lwando Lese, a young up-and-coming artist from Site B, Khayelitsha, who finds inspiration in township life and often paints colourful portraits.
His style is a blend of realism, vibrant colours and African motifs.
His work is on the Southern Life Building along Voortrekker Road.
Dominique Walters, manager of Northville Student Accommodation housed in the building, said the mural would be a hit with students.
“It creates a stunning visual effect and gives a fun feel to the hostel. Mr Lese is going to paint the other side of the building as well.”
Ms Walters, of Welgemoed, said the art would breathe new life into the area and she hoped residents would appreciate it.
The guests also toured Parow Market where they bought treats from the vendors.
For Hannah Levy, a 21-year-old student from Michigan in America, it was her first visit to Parow.
“This is a really cool and interesting idea as it is not very common to see murals in areas like this,” she said.
The mural, See-Saw-Do, and a piece by Chris Auret on the corner of Victoria Street and Station Road drew a lot of attention.
Auret’s work includes the faces of locals who can be seen roaming around the Parow precinct on any given day.
See-Saw-Do is a Cape Town-based social enterprise that uplifts environments where children live, learn and play.
The last stop on the tour was Ludia Cafe, in Parow Street, where guests tasted traditional Congolese food.
Mr O’Connor said the project sought to regenerate the area by stimulating interaction between artists, designers, City planners, business owners, residents and developers and move “the experience of art out of museums and galleries and into public space.”
Sub-council 6 chairman, Clive Justus said the art took a tired area and made it look new again.
”I hope that property owners will take initiative to repair and repaint buildings. I hope that tenants appreciate the work that has gone into the project and appreciate the potential that Parow CBD has to offer.”