GroundUp | Dumisani Dabadini:
Art came to the streets of Gugulethu at the weekend when the Open Streets Organisation and Maboneng Township Art Experience hosted a march.
Maboneng has boosted businesses such as M&N Fast Food Take Aways. Photo by Dumisani Dabadini.
Open Streets hosts walks on different streets to discuss issues and to change the way streets are perceived. The Maboneng Township Art Organisation brings art into the streets; Maboneng, which means “bringing light”, takes over streets in townships and turns them into art streets or galleries.
Sunday’s walk took place in NY147, next to a recently demolished Art Centre.
“I wanted a secluded area close to the entrance of Gugulethu” said Simphiwe Ngwenya from the Maboneng Township Arts Organisation. After the success of the Langa Maboneng Gallery, Ngwenya wanted a Gugulethu street to benefit from such an initiative.
He had first approached residents in 2012.
“We were very sceptical when Simphiwe first approached us as we did not know where he came from and trusting him with a part of our homes and lives seemed like such a big request” said NY147 resident Nonyaniso Funa.
But Sunday’s march was met with enthusiasm by residents.
The artists sit down with the homeowners to decide on the themes for the murals, which are permanently in the street once the march is over.
“Sis Xoliswa wanted her house to be easily identified so she opted for a mural with her name,” Ngwenya said. “People no longer struggle to get to her house, as her name is written on the wall outside” .
Women in the street are now involved in various initiatives that include beadwork. “One of the old women in the street has been teaching bead work. This has formed unity amongst the residents, thanks to the Maboneng Township Art Experience”, Ngwenya said.
Funa said the women on the nearby streets now met regularly to learn about beadwork.
Maboneng has boosted businesses such as M&N Fast Food Take Aways. “My business was not doing well. But the Maboneng project filled my container with beautiful graffiti which has made it more appealing, and the street now gets more visitors which boosts my business” said owner Mable Nyala.
Open Streets and Maboneng are planning to collaborate on an exhibition and tagging of the Gugulethu Gallery that will take place in November.
The possibility of closing Gugulethu streets to traffic has also been discussed and ward councillors are to be consulted.
Read this and other interesting art-icles via source: http://groundup.org.za/content/taking-art-gugulethus-streets