Graffiti in Port Elizabeth

  • 01 September 2014 | By Erenei Louw

I notice that there has been more and more graffiti popping up all over the city, some of which are fine works of art.

I recently received an invite to a graffiti workshop from Numb City Productions, which was hosted at the Athenaeum by the Mandela Bay Development Agency and NMMU's School of Music, Art & Design – funded by the Department of Arts and Culture.

Nathan Sanan explaining the basics of graffiti

I really liked the art, and judging by the huge turnout at the workshop, there seem to be many supporters of graffiti.

But there are those who do not like it, mainly associated with some of the history of the art, where it was seen as vandalism or a representation of revolutionary ideas. (In fact, graffiti is defined by Wikipedia thus: "Graffiti is writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place.")

This mural by 4 Blind Mice is a carefully constructed design that celebrates public transport and the daily journeys undertaken by the people of Port Elizabeth.

With the rise of urban art, graffiti has become more and more popular, and in a sense has become a way to beautify old structures and walls. A good example of this is the mural at the Port Elizabeth Bus Terminal in the city. This mural forms part of Route 67, which is an urban art route that was commissioned by the Mandela Bay Development Agency on behalf of the municipality.

Below are some more images from the workshop, where Nathan Sanan was joined by fellow graffiti artists Steven Carter (Joff) and Themba King. On my way back from the workshop I couldn't help but notice the artwork brightening up some old buildings – this time with a little bit more insight on how much effort and talent go into these works.

The art of graffiti

Themba King

Steven Carter (Joff)

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