Yesterday I walked the streets of Salt River, five minutes out of Cape Town City centre. The walk is part of IPFA - an annual International Public Arts Festival that goes on for four days in different cities around the world, bringing art, creativity, inspiration and awareness to the neighbourhoods, communities and people.
It’s all street art, some graffiti, some giant murals, some old, some new, and some quite mind blowingly incredible. I walked with my camera and I think I was a bit of a nightmare for the guide, crisscrossing the road to get good angles, chatting to the artists on their scaffolding, getting carried away and wandering down hidden alleys - but everyone did that - it was too good NOT TO!
Luckily, there are markers on the roads, mice, cats and cheese, for you to follow, if you get lost.
We never got lost. We had a great guide.
Salt River is a predominantly Cape Malay area, one steeped in history. Some of the buildings have been there for over 150 years, houses are colourful and teeny, filled with charm and character. It part neighbourhood, part family, part industry and part gentrification.
There is not too much gentrification, which I love, the odd trendy coffee shop where the caramel cheese cake was extremely delicious and I should not have two pieces, and the odd fab furniture store where I should have bought cushions, and one very nice boutique!
My only regret was I never made it to the dodgy Locomotive Hotel. The day was hot and an ice cold beer would’ve been great.
Visitors are encouraged to walk, cycle, run or skateboard. I am glad we walked. I loved taking the time to admire each artwork, while watching the community going about their business. Kids walked to and from Madrassah, shopkeepers traded, women sewed their wares, people worked and welcomed us.
Nobody hooted when anyone crossed the road erratically. And we all crossed the road erratically, there is too much to look at. Artists were mainly South African, that’s the effect of Covid-19, but usually there are artists from all around the world.
I quite liked that this time it was mainly South African. Local is lekker. Plus, you still get to see the international work. It stays up forever.
The theme this year was sustainability, as it should be, but a lot of the work is fun, political, dramatic and educational too. Each work tells a different story and inspires conversation and thought.
Which is what art is all about I guess.
The festival is 10 to 14 February 3032 - you can still go today or tomorrow - and if you are in Cape Town, do it. It’s only R 200 per group, which is INSANELY cheap so tip well. The start of the tour are 374 Albert Road, Woodstock, contact is 071 370 1246.