You learn so much about a city and its culture through its art. Street art is one of these hugely expressive forms that cover every aspect of city life and things happening at the moment. I have come to realize that street art differs from country to country and couldn’t wait to see what the street art of Woodstock in Cape Town, South Africa looked like.
Woodstock is one of the most vibrant hubs in South Africa, populated by creative minds, lots of working creative studios and boutiques all sharing the same space with a very tightly knit community. On Saturdays the area comes a life as the Old Biscuit mill becomes home to hand made crafts and deliciously fresh food. But then the area is also filled with people and cars so its quite crowded.
I had a day off during the week so I signed up for the Woodstock street art tour and was very lucky as I actually ended up having a private tour! This unique tour of World class street art costs R150 pp and the money goes directly to the artist that you walk with. I got Juma, one of the street artists who works with Freddy Sam, as my guide!
Note that Woodstock is still a rough area, the reason I joined a tour and didnt brave the streets on my own. I was quite lucky to have Juma as my guide. The whole community know him and everyone sitting outside their homes wanted to say hi to Juma, it was great fun!
The tour starts from his shop at the Woodstock Exchange and snakes through the neighbourhood of Woodstock passing nearly 40 artworks. It was a hot and sunny day but with a light breeze to cool us down it was a lovely walk.
The guide told wonderful stories of the people and artists living in Woodstock while I got to explore the artworks of world-renowned street artists such as locals Freddie Sam, Faith47, Falko One and international artists Know Hope (Israel), Jaz (Argentina) and Gaia (USA). Each artist has his or her own unique painting style or message they are trying to convey.
It is said that in 2010 a street artist called Freddy Sam started a street art revolution in Woodstock. He started by asking residents if they would allow him to paint on open walls – showing them the art before painting and getting their permission first. This has inspired other local and international artists to come and work in the area. This guided tour has definitely shown me how street art does not merely act as embellishment for the area’s buildings but can also help create positive socio-economic changes within the community.
I absolutely loved the walking tour. Woodstock is an area in transition, the absolutely fabulous architecture along with the colourful street art is creating a vibrant an d lively area. An area that not only houses artists but also inspires them and tries to help and uplift them.
The tour lasted an hour and a half and to think we only visited the most important street art works. The rest of Woodstock is slowly also being covered in colourful art and I will definitely be back again to explore the other pieces of art.