All posts tagged: Soweto

Kliptown & Soweto in South Africa: Falko, Rasty and Martha Cooper

Kliptown & Soweto in South Africa: Falko, Rasty and Martha Cooper

Today we take you to Kliptown and Soweto in South Africa where we find artists Falko and Rasty collaborating and ethnographer/photographer Martha Cooper capturing the action of the painters, as well as the games and color of the streets.

“Kliptown seems to be stuck in time,” say Pybus of the historic town that retains much of it character but could use help with its infrastructure. “It is situated opposite a historical square and an upmarket hotel in Soweto in the city of Johannesburg. In the 1950’s Kliptown became famous as it is where the Freedom Charter was written, the document that formed the basis of the our current constitution. Now in 2014, it is a somewhat forgotten place across the tracks, filled with families trying to makes ends meet, 100 year old homes and crumbling businesses, but there are splashes of color, street games, youth centers and galleries emerging.”

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Falko at work. (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

“Falko and Rasty have lost count of the walls they have painted together, and exchange very few words while they worked.  They both are technical masters of their styles, but don’t get closed off to their environment while painting, always finding a way to befriend the curious passerbys who stop to look,” says Pybus.

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Falko and Rasty collaboration. (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

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Martha Cooper on the foreground with Falko and Rasty on the background. (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

“I witnessed Martha engage with people with so much respect while she searched for the similarities between Sowebo, in Baltimore – her hometown, and Soweto for her latest project Soweto/Sowebo. She shared some of the work she has captured thus far with me while I was visiting her in New York a few weeks ago. It was calming and honest, sensitive and humorous, and revealed that these two places that are worlds apart that are perceived to be so different, are more similar than one realizes – and her anthropological eye is trained to capture the common threads of humanity that intwine us,” Pybus tells us.

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Falko (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

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Kliptown, Soweto. (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

“On my last day in Soweto as the sun set, the trains started to fill up, so much so that people start riding the front of the cars. South Africa has developed so much in the last 20 years, but while standing in Kliptown one would be forgiven for thinking not much in the way of improvement has been done since its first brick was laid,” says Rowan.

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Someone playing in front of a piece by Lady Aiko (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

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A boy walks on the streets of Kliptown wearing a Madiba memorial shirt. The recently passed Nelson Mandela was present here in 1955 at the Kliptown Congress of the People “where the Freedom Charter was adopted as the document which outlined the aims and principles of the anti-Apartheid struggle coalition formed by the Freedom Charter’s authors and signatories.” (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

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Two “sunny-side up” from Falko (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

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Portrait of Falko covering his face. (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

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Neighbors enjoying a popular board game called LUDO. (photo © Rowan Pybus @makhulu_)

As part of a 10 day Social Innovator workshop, a group of artists were invited to Soweto including photographer Martha Cooper(USA), artists Falko (RSA), Rasty(RSA) and Mundano (Brazil).

Thank you to Rowan Pybus @makhulu_ for sharing his images and words  with BSA readers.

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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13 from 2013 : Martha Cooper “A Train Runs Through Mandela’s Kliptown”

13 from 2013 : Martha Cooper “A Train Runs Through Mandela’s Kliptown”

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Happy Holidays to all you stupendous and talented and charming BSA readers! We thank you from the bottom of our socks for your support this year. The best way we can think of to celebrate and commemorate the year as we finish it is to bring you 13 FROM 2013 – Just one favorite image from a Street Art or graffiti photographer that brings a story, a remembrance, an insight or a bit of inspiration to the person who took it. For the last 13 days they will share a gem with all of us as we collectively say goodbye and thank you to ’13.

December-22

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No matter how far she strays in the world photographer Martha Cooper is never far from the work that made her famous in the graffiti and Street Art world. An avid globetrotter, Ms. Cooper is always observing and shooting in new cities.  In recent years she has been pursuing a project entirely unrelated to her “Subway Art” days, an ethnographic study and cultural photographic comparison of two similarly named spots half a world away from one another: Sowebo (in Baltimore, MD) and Soweto in South Africa. This fall while shooting for her Sowebo/Soweto project, Cooper’s past suddenly came rumbling across the tracks above her, and she new she had one of her favorite shots of 2013.

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Kliptown. Soweto, South Africa 2013. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A Train Runs Through Mandela’s Kliptown

I took this photo in September in Kliptown, an historic district in Soweto, South Africa. Although pursuing a project that had nothing to do with street art, I couldn’t take my eyes off the commuter trains with graffiti passing through. One evening I waited in the heart of Kliptown hoping to catch a shot of a painted train. This was exactly how I had photographed subway graffiti in the early ’80s in the Bronx. Back then I could never have imagined that 30 years later I would be attempting a similar shot on the other side of the globe.

By great good fortune a train passed by with graffiti in colors complimentary to my pre-selected foreground. The tiny child at the door of the typical corrugated iron Soweto shack was a poignant touch I could not have anticipated.

Kliptown is famous for its Freedom Charter signed in 1955 in an early protest against apartheid. Graffiti represents a different kind of freedom. Here’s to freedoms of all kinds, to the memory of Nelson Mandela who lived in Soweto and to a better life for the children of Kliptown and beyond.

~ Martha Cooper

Location: Kliptown, Soweto, South Africa, 2013.

 

 

#13from2013

Check out our Brooklyn Street Art 2013 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo here.

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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“I Art Joburg” with Monica Campana in South Africa

Today we welcome Monica Compana to BSA to share with you her experiences during a recent Street Art/community program in Johannesburg, South Africa that took place in September. As one of the principal originators of Atlanta’s Living Walls festival, Campana brings a wizened eye to the events as they unfolded, and presents here what she observed and experienced. Special thanks to Martha Cooper, who shares with BSA images that display her personal vision of Joburg and some layouts from her new zine “Soweto/Sowebo”.

Considered one of the wealthiest cities in Africa, Johannesburg is not only rich in gold and diamonds, but also rich in arts and culture. In the month of September, Johannesburg hosted the largest mural project in the city and possibly even the continent.

I Art Joburg brought the artists Espo, ROA, Cameron Platter, Falko, Remed and graffiti photographer legend Martha Cooper to South Africa to create art in the streets, start a dialogue about street art in the city and to document a month where artists worked together alongside a commercial production team and community members to bring color to Joburg and Soweto.

ROA (photo © Martha Cooper)

“Color creates energy, energy creates inspiration and inspiration creates change. It is our responsibility to inspire ourselves to inspire others to inspire the change. Art is the remedy for this,” says Ricky Lee Gordon, organizer and curator of I Art Joburg.

Gordon’s carefully selected list of renowned street artists not only managed to put the festival amongst one of the best ones of the year, but also it created a chemistry between artists and community. With 6 murals installed around the Maboneng Precinct it hosted a night of lectures and the screening of Espo’s “Love Letters to You” documentary. The precinct is also referred to as “a place of light”, as it is a hub for young creatives and artists, and it also hosted a gallery exhibit by the participating artists.

ROA (photo © Monica Campana

To inspire kids from a local school, organizers created a workshop and a mural with kids in Soweto, a name synonymous in the northern hemisphere with the historic anti-apartheid black resistance movement that inspired so many artists in the 70s-80s around the world. The name Soweto has an auditory similarity to the neighborhood of Sowebo in Baltimore, which photographer Martha Cooper has been documenting as a personal passion for nearly a decade.

Already in Joburg to document all of the murals and exhibit her own work, she took the experience and project to a whole new level with the development of her zine titled: “Soweto/Sowebo.” Martha owns a house in South West Baltimore, also known as Sowebo, an area so affected by urban decay that it is often compared to Soweto in South Africa. Needless to say, when she  arrived in Soweto she immediately saw the similarities and she decided to create a zine honoring the richness of both cultures.  It was fascinating to see through her work how these two places, so far away from each other geographically in two completely different continents, could pass as one and the same.

ROA (photo © Martha Cooper)

Soweto/ Sowebo was not the only example of this wonderful dialogue. Each artist tried to leave something to the city of Joburg that would not only last for a long time visually, but something that could continue to spark some kind of dialogue. During my stay in Joburg I was able to spend quite a bit of time with ROA and Martha Cooper.  It was amazing to see how their easily  they interacted with the people on the streets of the city and even though they had been there for only about a week by the time that I arrived, Martha and ROA had already made dear friends in the neighborhood.

ROA and Falko (photo © Martha Cooper)

On the subject of friends we made: Bongani Mathebula, my Joburg tour guide, is the one that stole my heart. Seeing the city through the eyes of a local 25 year old artist was very inspirational. He told me that projects like I Art Joburg are what the city of Johannesburg needs – an outsider’s view and conversation starter to inspire the local community.

“Artists are like heroes. Art is crazy, people need to let that happen. More art, more crazy communication and growth,” says Bongani.

I hope to see more mural festivals happen in Joburg and Soweto. I know the artists who were part of the project were left wanting more. So, who knows? Maybe this really is just the start to a much bigger conversation in Joburg! Fingers crossed!

Remed (photo © Monica Campana)

Falko (photo © Monica Campana)

Espo (photo © Martha Cooper)

Espo (photo © Martha Cooper)

Espo (photo © Martha Cooper)

Espo (photo © Martha Cooper)

Martha Cooper’s “Soweto/Sowebo Zine” (photo © Martha Cooper)

Martha Cooper’s “Soweto/Sowebo Zine” (photo © Martha Cooper)

Martha Cooper’s “Soweto/Sowebo Zine” (photo © Martha Cooper)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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