City’s public art project puts Langa in the picture

28 Dec 2018 in Where We Govern

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien, completed a tour of public art in Langa which included pieces demonstrating how functional art benefit the community and visitors. The initiative is being led by the City’s Arts and Culture Department. Colourful mosaic benches provide seating while special picnic tables with embedded chessboards provide a space to play and relax. The department will consider how to introduce  functional art to other neighbourhoods, while in Langa the project will be expanded to include six large murals which will be completed during the next financial year.

‘Public Art adds more than just aesthetic value to an area and in Langa it has become an important and unifying focus which brings cultural, social and economic value to the neighbourhood. It reflects our society and enriches the community.

‘Langa boasts several pieces of functional public art – from the mosaic benches, which each has its own story to tell, to the newly commissioned large murals due to be completed in the next financial year. The new murals at the entrance to the township, known as the Old Flats project, will be completed in the coming months and reflects the history and culture of Langa,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

The tour showed how public art is found all over Langa and includes works from well-known artists such as Falko, Mak1 and Skumbuzo.

‘As a creative City, we are committed to enabling all forms of public art as well as nurturing and promoting local artists,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

‘Public art stimulates learning and encourages us to think about how our lives connect with each other and to art. By making art public and functional, it becomes accessible and enables residents to experience art as part of their daily lives, and not just inside a museum or gallery.

‘Through murals we tell the stories of the residents, thereby inviting community participation through consultation and collaboration as well as skills transfer and skills development for community-based artists and emerging artists. Murals assist in transforming spaces and communities that, in turn, contribute to social and economic development. With these murals, the City hopes to demonstrate the ways in which art can contribute towards transformation in vulnerable communities; establish a positive and stronger neighbourhood identity; and improve our public facilities and spaces,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

One of Langa’s most popular facilities is the award-winning Guga S’thebe Arts and Culture Centre which has an indoor performance area, an amphitheatre, and dance, paint, pottery, mosaic and photographic studios.

‘The facility has a 200-seater theatre space which has received an international architectural award and is built mostly from recycled material.

Our Cultural Spaces Programme is aimed at providing dedicated and relevant arts and culture spaces that are active, vibrant and well utilised throughout the city,’ added Councillor Badroodien.

Projects for the new year include a public arts tour in Manenberg and a mural project for Ocean View. Further details will be made known as soon as they become available.