What does the word “graffiti” mean to you?
The deterioration of the urban space? A new form of expression for young people without hope for their future? The hip-hop culture? Or maybe, to you, it remains to be an illegal art?
Let’s start again if you don’t mind?
Drawing, writing or engraving on walls have existed for eternity. Roman, Greek and Egyptians have all played this little game a long time ago…
But if we really think that the story has begun with the aerosol spray, then we shorten the history. We would then associate the beginning of this history to the punk years, the hip-hop culture and the 70s…
Graffiti is a cultural effect which began in New York, London, then in Paris and which has now spread to the rest of the world, depending on the influences of different cities, music, activism or propaganda, but also depending on the strong influence of pain in societies. This movement arrived in South Africa at the end of the 80s.
So yes, graffiti may you make you think of gangs and ugly inscriptions in the subway…Unfortunately, the one who holds the aerosol spray can isn’t always the artist! And I know what I’m talking about…
However if we take a new and fresh look at graffiti, now commonly called “Street Art”, so that it won’t be too scary, this new kind of art has found some amazing artists who will definitely leave a very high quality work of art, legal or… illegal!
But it’s not our job to give any names, the history will decide who is good or not, and who is the best.
Nowadays cities such as London, Rio, Bogota, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Berlin, Paris and New York are places where you can go and find a huge number of high quality works of art!
But this Top 10 wouldn’t be complete without Cape Town… The city has more than 3000 works of art listed! Woodstock, Mitchell’s plain, Manenberg, Langa… These districts are very rich with their amazing works of graffiti! It’s probably because the police didn’t dare going to such places…
The creativity of local artists, their talents, the mix of different styles, and the strong message they convey are present today in many cities. Knowing and discovering these elements helps having a different point of view on a city or a society. If you really learn about street art or graffiti in a city, you will truly know its history, its pain, its joy, and its state of mind!
We, at XO Africa, organize visits to highlight the culture of Cape Town. Thanks to our Street Art tours, you will now be able to discover the heart of the Mother City, her real story, her urbanization and her population. The messages on the walls are symbols of the past. They show everything: values, stories, colors, lifestyle, emotions, freedom….
An experience that begins with the eyes continues with the head and ends with the heart…
But we shouldn’t stop there! Nowadays graffiti is taking a new form. Some of you may think it’s too commercial. As far as I’m concerned it’s more creative and elaborate.
Street Art artists are thinking of new ideas and new projects when they meet people attracted to the urban art (and there is no longer a doubt that people are very attracted to this art), or even better when they meet people interested in their art!
If you want to know more about the Street Art or if you want to join us for an amazing experience through Cape Town and its graffiti, don’t hesitate to call us!
By Sebastien Charrieras
Photos taken by Marco Vanrenterghem – firstname.lastname@example.org