MURALS IN CAPE TOWN

 The first in a series of two

It is interesting to see people’s reactions to graffiti art.  Quite often they judge it as if it were some less than savoury expletive.  But even a superficial glance must convince one that, in the decades after the 1960s, graffiti art has evolved in form and quality beyond all expectation.  It has been said that graffiti art has taken the history of art into new directions.

The images that I have are random.  Others might have a better representation of what Cape Town offers.  I share mine to get the chat going.

These two works are by the Cape Town artist, Faith 47, who has achieved international repute and has been invited to paint murals in capitals of the world.  The first is on the vibracrete fence at Zonnebloem school in District Six.  The second is six storeys high – a woman in traditional dress and her child.

These works are on walls in Woodstock.  The first two may have an ideological message.

The next two are part of commercial advertising.  In the last one the barred shadow of the burglar bar over the bird only happens at certain times of the day.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

March, 2018

 

Images

My photographs

 

See also “HipHop Graffiti” in http://www.loertoer.wordpress.com   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MURALS IN CAPE TOWN

The second in a series of two

I have an idea that these two murals on the way to Cape Town airport were also done by Faith 47.  The first I call Radio Boy.  The second, Speak no Evil, is remarkable by any standards.

I saw these two twice life-size hands on the wall of a garden in Panorama.  I have no idea who painted this.  With so much of this art it is a matter of Look-what-I-did, not Praise-me-for-what I-did, because you don’t know who I am.

Vibracrete wall fencing must rank as the most unaesthetic invention, in my opinion.  So it is that I painted these two murals on my vibracrete fence in Monte Vista.  I copied them from tiles that are about six times smaller than they are.  The originals, I thought, were affectionate parodies of Khoi-San rock art.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

March, 2018

 

Images

My photographs

 

See too “HipHop Graffiti” in www.loertoer.wordpress.com 

which deals with graffiti art in Mowbray, Cape Town. 

HEIN WAGNER, a living legend

 

Hein Wagner

It defies expecations to look up the name Hein Wager on the internet to see the list of his incredible achievements.  He has climbed the ten highest mountains in the Western Cape, he has participated in many marathons, both in South Africa and abroad, and he has held the land speed world record.  And he was born blind.

I mention but a few things.  The list goes on, dwarfing what most sighted achievement-seekers have attained.  It makes him a living legend, one of the most remarkable South Africans and certainly one of the most remarkable blind people in the world.

I met him in the Drama Department at Tygerberg College, Panorama, Cape Town.  It was 2003 and, after stroking his guide dog, the most beautiful I have seen,  I was faced with a request that seemed impossible:  teach me to act, he said.

From a motivational speech by Hein

I pushed the impossibilities aside and together we devised ways for him to handle the space of a stage.  He would be barefooted and I laid lengths of twine across the floor.  There were knots in the twine which he could “read” — single, double, treble  — and this would tell him where he was.  The show was called “Bat Magic” and dealt with his life as man born blind.  It was unbelievably funny, and, as a consequence, deeply moving and inspiring.  That year it was the talk of the National Arts Festival at Grahamstown.

It is mind-boggling that a prominent computer company employed him where he worked for a number of years.  He sat with me when I had dysfunctions on my computer and fixed the problems.  He had memorized the software!

Poster for his motivational programmes

Once, I led him to a painting of a nude in my lounge.  I guided his finger-tips over its surface, saying, This is the forehead, this is the nipple, here is the hip and this is the foot.  I tried to “colour in” my words by referring to  natural phenomena like wind and cold, and sensations.

He was moved.  “Beautiful,” he said.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

January, 2018

 

Source

Wikipedia Hein Wagner

 

Images

Hein Wagner – all4women.co.za

Can’t Can – action4.org.za

Hein –  heinwagner.com

 

 

 

 

J.C.E. Seeliger – architect

The first in a series of two

It is interesting how few people know who the first South African architect of note was.  We reach for names like Herbert Baker (Union Buildings, Groote Schuur Hospital, etc), but he was born in Kent … J. Parker, H. Rowe-Rowe, F. Cherry, E. Simpkin, S. Stent … none of them was born in South Africa.  And so, few of us know … probably because architects are strangely invisible and unsung.

            The young Seeliger

His name was Johann Carl Ernst Seeliger, born to Prussian-German immigrants who had actually been on the way to Australia and found themselves, after being defrauded of their possessions, more pleasantly situated in Paarl where their baby, born soon after their arrival, was christened in the Rietdak Church in 1863.  In his late teenage years he undertook a hazardous journey on a barque to Europe and made his way to Berlin where, for the next few years, he trained as an architect before returning to South Africa.   In the late-19th-century the cities of South Africa were undergoing change which would make them largely what they are now.  For an architect these were exciting times.

                      10 Keerom St, Cape Town

His magnum opus, built in 1904, is the building at 10 Keerom St, central Cape Town, opposite the Supreme Court.  This building, in classical jugendstil, was the home of the Burger newspaper for decades, along with various other media agencies.  It was also where Seeliger’s office and studio were throughout his life.

           St Stephens Church, Riebeeck Square

Much of what he did is unknown.  In 1902, he was  commissioned to convert the entry porch of St Stephen’s Church, built in 1800, on Riebeeck Square.  He gave the front door and the flanking windows a Gothic character.  The building was declared a national monument in 1965.

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

November, 2017

 

Sources

W.J.v.d.Walt:  Johann Carl Ernst Seeliger – noted architect –  article in Lantern, 1994.

Acknowledgement and thanks to the late Miss Anna Seeliger for information and photographs.

Thanks to Joan Brokensha.  

 

Images

Seeliger family archive.

St Stephens – Mervyn Hector

 

 

 

 

J.C.E. Seeliger – architect

The second in a series of two

Seeliger, having been trained by modernists in Berlin, was creative and daring in his designs.  One of his buildings was the Baumanns Biscuit Factory in New Market St in Woodstock, which features a concrete span, revolutionary at the time.  His own home in Camp St, Gardens, featured a sliding door, probably the first of its kind in the country and which has become standard fixture.

       Corporation Chambers, Grand Parade

Other buildings include the Corporation Chambers on the Grand Parade, the Heritage Building on Green Market Square and the Hohenort in Constantia, where Seeliger is honoured by having the conference room named after him. There is benefit in discovering that your Victorian home in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, was designed by Seeliger.

     Heritage House, Green Market Square

There are buildings dotted around the Cape Colony and Namibia each which bears testimony to his prolific energy.

Paul Weiss-Haus, Luderitz

A dour man, he shunned public life, quietly leaving his monumental mark on the Cape Town cityscape.  He died in 1938.

     Seeliger in his later years

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

November, 2017

 

Sources 

W.J.v.d.Walt:  Johann Carl Ernst Seeliger – noted architect –  article in Lantern, 1994.

Acknowledgement and thanks to the late Miss Anna Seeliger for information and photographs.

Special thanks to Joan Brokensha.  

 

Images

Seeliger family archive.

 

 

 

 

Will will travel

I am a part of all that I have met

Ek is deel van alles wat ek ontmoet het

Je fais partie de tout ce que j’ai rencontré

Είμαι μέρος όλων αυτών που έχω γνωρίσει

Soy parte de todo lo que he contrado

Ich bin ein Teil von allem, was ich getroffen habe

나는 내가 만난 모든 것의 일부이다.

Sono parte di tullo quello che ho incontrato

Ik ben onderdeel van alles wat ik heb ontmoet

Namibia from space

 

I am a part of all that I have met; 

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’ 

Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades 

For ever and forever when I move. 

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 

To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use! 

From Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1833

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

October, 2017

 

Sources

The earth

me

 

Images

Space Panorama NASA 1969

 

 

 

 

FRIEDA OLLEMANS  – sculptor supreme

I don’t remember her that well.  But I remember the whisky-and-cigars voice, and the eyes that saw everything through the lens of irony.  Her dress … well, she didn’t pander to fashion.  Yes, you couldn’t escape it — there was a bohemian rising out of the late years of modernism.  Her husband Helmut was, in the words of someone who considered Helmut an enemy, “the most professional wine farmer in the Western Cape.”  And Helmut supported every hammer, every chisel, every chip of cedar wood or ebony, everything that Frieda did, because Frieda was an artist.  That’s what you did with artists.

Odysseus

Odysseus

Born in 1915, Frieda studied sculpture under H.V. Meyerovitz in Cape Town in the early-1930s.  She went on to an award-winning career at the Slade School in London for three years.  On her return to Cape Town in 1940, she made marionettes for puppet theatre as well as pioneering childrens art centres in  the Western Cape.  The Frank Joubert Centre in Stellenbosch is an example.

Wood nymph

She had exhibitions in South Africa and abroad.  Some of her work was displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as in Chicago.

                The Dancer

Her first one-person exhibition was held in Stellenbosch in 1972.  She presented pieces in ebony, teak, cedar wood, olive wood and lead.  Unlike any artist I’ve known she had notices up amongst the works:  Please Touch the Sculptures.  For me, there are few instances in the history of art more sacred than that.

       Woman – Bearer of life

              A figure for Mutti

It was a huge price to pay, but I clenched my teeth and did it.  And I have it yet — a figure by Frieda.  Her work for me is harmonious as well as being braced against an obvious realism.  The lines flow.  I once heard her say, The wood tells me what it must become.  And it’s in the organic design, never unsettling, never stark and hard-edged, always leading the eye easily, sensuously to surprising detail.  The finish is immensely satisfying.  You ponder these pieces.  I have pondered mine for more than forty-five years.   Those who inherit what I have will ponder it too, as will their grandchildren and those beyond.

                Figure by Frieda

                Figure by Frieda

 

© Will van der Walt

www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Bridgewater, Somerset West

August, 2017

 

Source

With special thanks to Süsse Bakker who provided the biographical information.

With thanks to Miki Flockemann.

Images

Odysseus, Wood nymph – Süsse Bakker

Remaining images – my photographs

 

 

 

 

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