The non-profit organisation, Our Future Cities (OFC), has transformed a section of Sea Point’s main road with a mural entitled “Recollection”.
The vibrant artwork is painted on either side of the pedestrian crossing outside the Artem Centre and forms part of OFC’s goal to promote the creation of more equitable, progressive, and bold cities.
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By enhancing the crossing with the artwork’s bold colours and illustrations, it’s hoped the 16-by-14-metre mural will also increase pedestrian safety on this busy stretch of Main Road.
The project was developed by local real estate developer Blok and executed in collaboration with Our Future Cities (OFC).
Blok’s CEO, Jaques van Embden, says, “The concept is to improve development within cities to reimagine accessibility and safety as more and more people make the move to live in urban areas. The idea of future cities that merge sustainable economic development with connected urban living to shape the next generation’s way of life is not unique to Cape Town.”
“There’s a deep hunger for these types of projects in every city,” said van Embden, adding that many murals ultimately emerge as unique landmarks that promote community pride.
He continued, “It’s exciting to see the demand. It’s not just about painting roads. “Streets are the ultimate gallery. They are where art and life come alive.”
Al Luke, an abstract artist whose work combines an expressive abstract style with the intention of visually translating interpersonal and societal behaviour and connection, created the mural.
“It has been an absolute honour to be a part of this project and to share my art with the Mother City by promoting awareness regarding pedestrian safety in Cape Town. It has also been a pleasure to change the perceptions of the city’s public realm and transform its everyday infrastructure into cheerful spaces,” says Al Luke.
As part of the Mayor of London’s “Let’s Do London” tourism campaign, the City of London recently commissioned a similar transformation project consisting of 18 pedestrian crossings.
Since the creative, retail, and hospitality industries were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign was used to relaunch them. Similar initiatives have been carried out in cities like Washington, DC, and Milan, where pedestrian crossing artwork has been used to make streets safer and more lively.
Rashiq Fataar, urban practitioner and founding director of Our Future Cities, says, “For our streets to be reimagined and reclaimed as infrastructure for people rather than just cars, we need provocative and joyful initiatives like this one.”
Our Future Cities has high hopes that this project will sow the seeds for the bigger changes that are needed to make our cities more vibrant and sustainable.
Picture: Our Future Cities