The International Public Art Festival (IPAF), one of Africa’s largest and most anticipated public art festivals, took place over the weekend producing many firsts for the festival. The assortment of twenty-three remarkable artworks includes installations, sculptures, digital artworks, outdoor pop-up exhibitions, performances, street art tours, and much more still on display for the public to reflect on.
IPAF 2023 Overview
Artists creatively installed thought-provoking public artworks across the Mother City, curated according to the festival theme, “What if?”. Through their artworks, artists looked back to alternative histories and peered forward toward speculative fiction, all while questioning the current status quo and accepted norms. This year’s theme sought to push the boundaries of the ‘known’ to expand minds, spaces and societies. Although the festival has ended, visitors can still explore the best street and public art pieces that Cape Town has to offer by downloading the festival’s tour maps.
Alexandre Tilmans, the co-founder of Baz-Art, encourages those who missed IPAF to embark on a DIY tour and discover the latest IPAF murals that paint a fascinating picture of Cape Town and Africa at large.
IPAF final artworks revealed!
IPAF 2023: MURALS
Title: Mami, Artist: Aches, Sponsored by The Embassy of Ireland
The artwork is called ‘Mami’, which is the name of the woman depicted. The piece represents the people of Cape Town and the vibrant colours seen around the city, and was created as a celebration of the everyday person.
Title: The Zulu Dance, Artist: JonOne, Sponsored by ART Time
The Zulu Dance was inspired by South Africa, specifically the colouring of the South African flag, highlighting the unity and diversity the country embodies. The artwork was created to give residents a sense of home and familiarity.
Title: UMOYA weAFRICA, Artist: VonMash & Xopher Wallace
UMOYA weAFRICA” transalates to ‘The African Spirit’ in isiZulu. This work captures the artist’s envisioned transformation of Africa as a unified continent, using “What If” as a starting point for visual dialogue. The piece was inspired by all the elements taken from Africans, including identity, history, and the unbreakable African spirit. This artwork is an exciting combination of mural painting, wheat pasting, digital art as well as Augmented Reality.
Title: Black is Love, Artist: Richie Madyira
Richie Madyira’s work sheds light on the challenges faced by Zimbabweans who migrate to South Africa seeking better economic opportunities. Zimbabweans have historically faced economic and political instability, which has led many to migrate to neighboring countries like South Africa. However, even though they may find better opportunities in South Africa, Zimbabwean migrants often face a range of challenges such as obtaining work permits, access to healthcare, and the ability to send money back home.
Title: Capetonian Lady, Artist: Pixel Monster
“What if people were pixels?” is the question the artist wanted to portray by highlighting female figures that carry weight in our society. This art piece continues the series of pixel ladies already painted in different African countries, and represents the key role of women in the current digital world.
Title: Cape Town Life, Artists: Baz-Art, Studio Muti, Dekor One and Mernette Swartz
This street art collaboration involved the concept initiated by Baz-Art, the bold design created by Studio Muti, and implemented by two talented local artists, Dekor One and Mernette Swartz.
The large-scale public art piece, called Cape Town Life, portrays a colourful collage depicting various aspects of living in Cape Town – from landmarks to flora and fauna and other diverse cultural elements unique to the Mother City. The hand drawn aesthetic uses illustrations to showcase the many different forms of commuting and includes some local food and drink delicacies that remain truly Capetonian.
Title: What If kids Played Outside Again?, Artists: Concept in collaboration with Baz-Art & Ralarno Coutts
Reverse graffiti involves using cleaning techniques to create images on dirty surfaces. It works by selectively removing dirt from the surface, leaving behind a pattern or design. The result is a temporary, environmentally friendly artwork that highlights the contrast between cleanliness and pollution in urban environments. Through this piece Ralarno asks “what if children played outside again?” and questions the longer term issues of the younger generation spending less time outside and more time on their cell phones.
IPAF 2023: PUBLIC ARTWORKS
Title: Living the Sinking Ship, Artist: Gijs Vanhee, Sponsored by The Government of Flanders
Gijs Vanhee’s artwork asks us to search in the details for stories or questions about how humans have drifted away from who we are. These ‘Freebirds’ can be seen as humans freeing their minds through imagination. Traditionally a painter, this is Gij’s first public sculpture, with different sections of the artwork being built both in South Africa and in Flanders – a truly international project
Title: Tank Man Made in China, Artist: Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Sponsored by The Embassy of Spain in South Africa
Fernando Sánchez Castillo’s work examines the relationship between art and power. This piece consisted of 1000 tank figurines depicting the unknown rebel nicknamed Tank Man, who stood in front of a column of Type 59 tanks leaving Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 5, 1989, the day after the Chinese government’s violent crackdown on the Tiananmen protests.
In exchange for a figurine, visitors were requested to leave stories, names, drawings, or thoughts surrounding their thoughts and feelings around freedom and civil rights.
Title: Church | Court | Brothel, Artist: Msaki
An installation about the spaces of violence and retraumatisation, Msaki describes the content of this installation as: a witness stand, a pulpit, an alter of canal desires, a father, amen, of homes, of nations, of fire pools, a Khanga, Amen, your honour, intanga, the Rhodes = the Zuma = the Rapist = the man, Uyinene, your honour, How much?
Title: Water Wars, Artist: William Sweetlove represented by Art@Africa
Water Wars is a silent sentinel in a landscape of man-made recycled detritus, which reflects on sustainability and promotes greater ecological awareness. At first glance, the installation is seen as “kitschy,” fusing dadaism, surrealism, and pop art. However, a closer examination reveals its functions as a creative response to our culture’s excessive production and consumption.
Title: Letter to the Hereafter, Artist: MasaMara
MasaMara’s piece is a letter of appreciation to those who came before us—for the strength, bravery, and hardships they had to endure that paved the way forward. Their strong foundation they have given us is what allows us to move forward.
Title: Unjustified Violence: A Reflective Exhibition For A Free Society, Artist: LivCurious & Post to Parliament
his interactive installation displayed in a “washing line style”, encouraged people to reflect, engage with and write postcards on their thoughts and experiences around Gender-Based Violence. The installation followed a therapeutic process through writing, sharing, and educating. At the same time, promoting the want and need of a free society where all can live equally in harmony.
Title: Remember to Play, Artist: Michael Beckurts
Remember to Play, is a screen print with augmented reality animation overlay that depicts the iconic Openwine in Wale Street, Cape Town. Michael’s mural celebrates another mural- painted above Openwine in 2022: that of a young resident of Bo Kaap on his bike titled ‘The Gatekeeper of Bo Kaap’ by acclaimed graffiti artist Case Maclaim. The AR animation shows a surreal playfulness, where the ‘Gatekeeper’ comes alive and explores the world. The predominant theme of Michael’s latest series of urban scenes is human connection.
Activation: Augmented Reality Mural Corner, Artists: Baz-Art in collaboration with Benjamin Mitchley, Psoman, Motel7, Broken Fingaz & Stefan Smit
At Baz-Art we combined physical street art with digital elements that are superimposed onto the artwork, creating an interactive and immersive experience. The result is a blend of the physical and virtual worlds, transforming the urban landscape into a canvas for artistic expression. To learn more about the activation see HERE!
IPAF 2023: GALLERY PARTNERSHIPS
Title: Arching Type, Artist: Marlene Steyn, represented by SMAC Gallery
Arching Type comes as a larger-than-life rendering of a woman made from foam, steel, fibreglass, and resin with a gaping hole through her torso.
Here, Steyn emphasises the understanding of woman as never having had place, or space, in (phallocentric) history; of woman as a porous body, entangled within the environment. Again, she is disjointed and aphoristic; all too much and yet not enough (Agnew, 2019).
Title: Concrete to Canvas, by WorldArt Gallery
This festival gallery exhibition hosted by the WorldArt gallery, showcased fine art works created by local and international artists who have participated over the past seven years’ festivals. The artworks produced in studio showcase the diversity, range and multiple skills of the selected artists.
Title: What If.. We Where Kinder to Ourselves and the Environment? by StateoftheArt
State of the Art gallery collaborated with Tharien Smith to create her artwork “Rainy Days” from her Rain Series. Therian’s idea relates to the environment, and how there is beauty as well as ugliness. She focuses on how relationships between people and cities are similar to our relationships with people.
Title: Ozone, By Nel Gallery
The work is titled Ozone because migrating geese fly so high during migration, they reach the ozone. Any life at such a level is near impossible yet they survive, and they reach their destination.
The Festival is a collaborative effort, and partnerships and contributions play an integral role in making it a reality!
A huge thank you to all our sponsors, partners and supporters for your continued support and for sharing this incredible experience with us. We look forward to working with you in the future and continuing to showcase the power of public art!
Should you wish to read the festival report, please see download available below