Mixing Paint: Art, Activism and Conservation blended for A Sustainable Future
“These artists, each with their unique flair, contribute to the transformation of the urban canvas, infusing it with stories that resonate with the heart of the local communities.” - Jamila Janna
Prompted by the threat of our car being towed away by a persistent parking attendant, we hastily navigated the bustling road towards Dbongz’ mural. The noise of traffic gradually faded into the background as our focus shifted to the captivating image of a young boy, cape slung over his shoulder, steadfastly carrying buckets filled with plastic collected from the beach he is playing on. Ndimangele (I am in awe!)! What was once an empty canvas only days ago, has now transformed into a profound narrative, speaking volumes about the impact of plastic pollution on our shores.
Dbongz’ mural in Newlands | Image by Jamila Janna
In the world of environmental conservation, the intersection of art and activism has potential to be a powerful catalyst for change. Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans South Africa is an ambitious and dynamic mixing, bringing together Wavescape, SJ Artists, and the PangeaSeed Foundation in a colourful effort to address the pressing issues impacting our oceans. It has been exactly one month now since the Sea Walls kicked off in Cape Town, South Africa. Led by Shani Judes, Tré Packard and Akira Biondo, Sea Walls South Africa embarked on a mission to communicate the urgency of protecting our oceans through every brush stroke and spray paint.
Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans South Africa promotes that art has the power to evoke emotions, spark conversations, and incite action. Murals, art installations, and other artistic works serve as visual narratives that transcend language barriers, bringing the complex issues that our oceans face into the hearts of those who see it, including the diverse communities of South Africa who visit The Mother City every year.
Along the promenade in Sea Point, the artistic talents of Amy-Lee Tak, Toya (Motel Seven), and Mary-Louise Koen converge to redefine Cape Town’s sunset stroll. Dulk in Salt River, with his artistry, boldly addresses the white sharks and orca scandal we have witnessed unfolding in False Bay, while Breeze Yoko, in a gesture of tribute, immortalizes the Kalk Bay fishing community through the depiction of the Octopus King and local entrepreneur and freediver Traci Kwaai. In Muizenberg, local artist Care Creative transformed the promenade wall with a resounding call to care. These artists, each with their unique flair, contribute to the transformation of the urban canvas, infusing it with stories that resonate with the heart of the local communities.
The Beach Co-op was brought on to lend support to the Sea Walls South Africa project. Aaniyah Martin, our Director, took on the role of cultural advisor, while I, Jamila Janna, Ops Manager, assisted Wavescapes with their social media efforts. I attended the different excursions such as the tour of Save Our Seas Shark Education Centre in Kalk Bay and the ceremonial and spiritually profound day at Veld and Sea. I also drove to various mural sites, documenting the unfolding history with each stroke of the artist’s brush. I also participated in a panel discussion held at the Jack Black Taproom on November 9th, which discussed the important role of art as a tool for science communication and ocean conservation. The event itself featured compelling short films that showed the global initiatives of Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans. As part of our commitment to the cause, we organized a beach cleanup along the rocky shore at Surfers Corner, drawing an enthusiastic turnout from the public. The collective efforts showcased the powerful blend of art, community engagement, and environmental action in fostering a deeper connection with our oceans.
Sea Walls South Africa goes beyond the creation of static artworks; it is a living, breathing testament to the ongoing commitment to marine conservation. The murals and installations serve as a constant reminder of the need to protect our oceans, encouraging ongoing dialogue and action towards a more sustainable coexistence.
Beach clean hosted by TBCO at Surfers Corner rockyshore | Image by Jamila Janna