Local street artist Nardstar* has painted two towering murals over Cape Town’s Philippi to raise awareness about COVID-19.
The 22-metre high mural took 15 days to complete and is one of the largest in South Africa. Nadia Fisher aka Nardstar* conceptualised the “Ubuntu” mural as part of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa’s (OSF-SA) Covid19 Awareness Campaign, designed to inspire action and educate communities about the pandemic.
“OSF-SA is primarily a grantmaking organisation and talking to our grantees and partners in the field, we noted that many people in the communities in which they worked were struggling to embrace the more formal messaging contained in traditional COVID-19 awareness campaigns,” says OSF-SA’s Head of Communications, Maxine Case. “We decided to launch this mural project in selected communities in Cape Town as part of a pilot project that looks at more creative ways of entrenching messages around COVID-19.”
A handful of artists were commissioned by OSF-SA to work in areas such as Tafelsig, Lavender Hill, Langa and Philippi. Each design commissioned was built around community feedback and interaction. “When the community of Philippi was asked about what could possibly be a positive outcome of the pandemic, they all spoke about the spirit of Ubuntu. Like so many South Africans, they had lost jobs and loved ones and, as a result, the community started helping each other. I wanted this mural to be a constant reminder and a celebration of their fighting spirit and that, when they are faced with challenges, they choose to stand together and strengthen each other,” said Nardstar*.
The murals were placed onto the old cement works, in the heart of the area. “We used roller paint for the bigger patches of colour and cans for the smaller shapes. It’s a logistical thing to cut time because of the size,” said Nardstar*, who completed the mural with the assistance of Bernard Greybe. “I simplified the colour palette to make the painting process less complicated.”