I’m back in Canada but I’ve got quite a few things still to write about! In late April I had the pleasure of painting this wall at Percy Bartley House. This home for boys operates out of an old house in Woodstock, giving kids from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to live in a safe environment while attending school or skills training programs, learning life skills before being reunited with their families. This rejuvenation project was a continuation of an ongoing collaboration between Write on Africa and Ogilvy Cape Town, working with local and international artists to turn a house that has over the years run down into a place full of life and color. Both David Shillinglaw and myself spent about a week at the house and really enjoyed ourselves. Here are some videos from the previous installment of this project, with artwork by Faith47, Mr. Fuzzy Slipperz, Black Koki, 35-ten-73, Bison, Freddy Sam, Xanele, Michael Tymbios and Coe One – curated by Write on Africa. Videos courtesy of Rowan Pybus and Katharina Brinkmann of Makhulu Productions.
For me this was a chance to try something new – I don’t have a ton of experience painting freehand with spray paint, and the two freehand portraits I’ve done in the past were sketched out with the help of a projector. Walking up to the wall with nothing but a bag full of cans and a printout of the image was a bit intimidating, but really satisfying in the end.
When I was planning out my mural, I really wanted to do something that was relevant to the community, to the boys who live there and all of the hard-working individuals that keep this wonderful space running. This image is a portrait of Grant Adams, the oldest resident of Percy Bartley House, and a true success story. Grant was born in Mitchells Plain, one of the townships just outside Cape Town. He grew up in Durban and moved back to Cape Town as a teen. His family still lives out in Mitchells Plain. He’s incredibly well spoken for his years, kindhearted and creative, with a budding talent as a hip-hop musician. We shared a lot of amazing conversations during the creation of this work, and have come away from the experience feeling mutually inspired every day.
Here are some pics, some taken by myself and some by Rowan.
While I was painting up on the roof of the carport, David was painting inside the living room/dining room area:
And here are Rowan’s photos of my final paint day. We had been trying to schedule this shoot for about a week, and it finally came together on a beautiful sunny day.
Big thanks to everyone who helped make this possible – with a very special thanks to Farlane, Grant and everyone at Percy Bartley House for letting us into their home and their lives.