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Local artist Grant Jurius leads community initiative showcasing street art in Woodstock




Cape Town’s rich collection of street art has won the attention of both locals and foreigners with features in publications such as the BBC News and France24.

One artist, Grant Jurius, has harnessed this interest and has begun a tour initiative called The Street is the Gallery. Mr Jurius gives tours of two thriving hubs of street art: Woodstock and Mitchells Plain. His work is part business, part community upliftment:

“The tours are about giving insight into communities in our city via street art and graffiti. Cape Flats and coloured culture are for the most part misunderstood and we look a little bit at how the art reflects and is affected by the surroundings and the laws in place, be it by the city or street values.”

During our tour, Future Cape Town learned that many of the works one sees, especially in Woodstock, are a result of collaborations between local and international artists. In 2011, A Word of Art, an artist residency program, collaborated with the apparel company adidas to bring in 13 artists, both local and international, to paint large scale public art projects throughout the city of Cape Town.  This project, called “i Art Cape Town,” stimulated further works to be commissioned and painted on the residential buildings of the largely Muslim and Cape coloured community.

During the tour with Mr. Jurius, one man approached us and recommended his favorite mural on a different street, showing his pride that these artworks were in his community. More collaborative processes should happen among artists and citizens, which would lead to the beautification and renewal of urban spaces. This would truly fulfill the mission of World Design Capital 2014 to use design for real change. As the Cape Town’s designation reaches its six-month halfway mark, it would be inspiring to see similar projects realized.

 

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Grant Jurius is the founding member of the Burning Museum Collective, a group of five individuals who perform site-specific interventions with wheat pastes of photos of former residents of District Six and other areas of forced removals. All five members come from areas that these residents were moved to, such as Bellvile, Grassy Park, the Northern Suburbs, and Elsis River. Their work is a point of self-reflection and an exploration of where they come from. 

For more information on The Street is the Gallery, click here. 

For more information on the Burning Museum Collective, click here.

 

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Anna Brown

Writer from New York with a passion for all things urban.