Parow Cape Town 2015
With hundreds of people passing by daily on route to the train station this is a very diverse area with people from all over.
At first I wanted to paint a portrait of and pay tribute to someone working in the area.
I spent a day meeting interesting people and taking their portraits
I met people like Leonard Swats from Eersterivier and Nazima Pretorius from Parow .
Leonard spends his days Skarreling (Begging) and doing odd jobs for the street vendors like Nazima who has a small street stall selling fake Chinese imports .She told me how she does her best to look after Leonard and keep him out of trouble.
The area is very harsh and has a large amount of homeless people, gangs, drug dealers, street kids, bottle stores and bars.
Even the butcher shop at the base of the wall has a huge Congolese bouncer to watch their door.
Yesterday I witnessed him break up a fight between a gang of street kids who were throwing bricks at a very drunk knife wielding homeless man.
I realize that singling one person out and portraying them large scale as a mural on the façade of a building may have a negative effect on that person in an area like this.
So I decided to paint a portrait of someone with no connection to the area removing half the head to make the face unrecognizable.
Through out the day people were asking me who he was and I would reply; ‘It is you’.
They would be very confused but most people enjoyed my response.
I later added the text; ‘You are me I am you’
And immediately this caused a very positive reaction amongst the people that had gathered as an audience to the production of the mural.
Someone yelled out to their friend across the road; ‘you are me’ and the friend replied ‘I am you’. Strangers started to talk to each other about what the meaning could be, everyone had their own interpretation, mostly all positive referencing the South African philosophy of Ubuntu (how we are all interconnected)
The springboks fighting represent the struggle to survive and how our actions can affect each other.
I hope the mural continues to engage people and create discussions amongst strangers.
Special thanks to The Greater Tygerburg partnership for inviting me to paint.