WORDS Cheri Morris
Located in Johannesburg’s iconic Nelson Mandela Square, the whopping 798 m² project aims to play an important part in bringing people together after spending months apart. We caught up with Lauren to find out how the mammoth mural came about, how people can interact with it and what excites her most about the project.
Tell us about Together Apart.
The project is part of a bigger global campaign called The Life Artois – it’s all about what the world might look like when you savour all the pleasures life has to offer with the people who matter to you most.
A major driver behind Together Apart was to encourage people to indulge in things that bring us together, like art, music and food – all the magical things we’ve been missing out on in the last six months during lockdown. The mural is one of the first local pieces that explores creating art, not ads, a Stella Artois initiative that aims to get loved ones and friends back together in a safe and creative way.
Take us through the creative process, from inception to execution.
The mural is an adaptation of a global artwork (created by Studio Number One), one we felt needed to have more of an African representation. We thought it was important that the work reflects the people who would interact with it, so I worked closely with Stella Artois and King James to bring these two worlds together in what turned out to be a beautiful conceptual piece.
The artwork consists of a woman raising a chalice to her partner from a safe distance, whom you can see reflected in her sunglasses. The supporting circles on the mural designate where people can hang out together while remaining safely apart – between approximately one and three metres in distance.
The artwork consists of 3 200 mats that were laid down, plugged into each other like a puzzle and then hammered 48 000 times. It took a team of 36+ production members, 13 amazing free-hand painters, 250 litres of paint and a period of three 12-hour days to complete.
What excites you most about the project?
I really love that we were able to use creativity in an innovative way to bring people together after months of being apart. This is the kind of creative work that matters to me, the kind that has a positive, real-world impact. An artwork of this scale is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s been an honour to be part of the amazing team who pulled it off.
How long will Together Apart be around and how can people interact with it?
The artwork will be around until the end of September. I highly recommend reuniting with friends, grabbing a Stella and getting some sun while adhering to the safe social distances in the designated circles.