Am­bi­ti­ous art pro­ject as e­pic as the street­s­ca­pe it occu­pies

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Graaff-reinet -

GRAAFF-REI­NET — An am­bi­ti­ous pu­blic art pro­ject, dri­ven by the Gi­ant Flag i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve in Graaff-rei­net, was re­a­li­sed re­cent­ly in U­ma­si­zak­he’s his­to­ric Roy­al Block.

The Roy­al Block was con­structed on Qu­een S­treet in the U­ma­si­zak­he towns­hip du­ring the e­ar­ly 20th cen­tu­ry and con­sist of u­ni­que his­to­ri­cal buil­dings built with brick and ce­ment with flat cor­ruga­ted-i­ron roofs.

O­ver the span of 12 mont­hs, the Gi­ant Flag Trust and FCB Foun­da­ti­on, col­la­bo­ra­ted with ar­tist Kim Lie­ber­man and ot­hers, lo­cal and na­ti­o­nal, to trans­form the di­la­pi­da­ted front faça­des of the­se re­si­den­ces in­to a mas­si­ve work of art which is spre­ad a­cross 1 000 squa­re me­ters.

By de­grees, this in­dus­tri­ous pro­ject - by far the most am­bi­ti­ous e­ver at­temp­ted in the a­rea - was com­ple­ted the re­si­den­ces had to be plas­te­red and then gi­ven a new co­at of paint be­fo­re the pain­ting of the va­ri­ous sil­hou­et­tes - all of which re­pre­sent re­si­dents of the a­rea - could com­men­ce.

The i­ni­ti­a­tors of this pro­ject re­gar­ded it as an op­por­tu­ni­ty to in­stil so­me dee­ply nee­ded dig­ni­ty in a part of the wor­ld w­he­re this pri­vi­le­ge is so pro­found­ly lacking.

Upon com­men­ce­ment of the pro­ject, the re­spon­se from the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty was o­ver­w­hel­ming and all in­vol­ved in the pro­ject ho­pes that the end re­sult will ge­ne­ra­te e­nough in­te­rest in the Roy­al Block and the sur­roun­ding com­mu­ni­ty to bring chan­ge and pro­spe­ri­ty to the com­mu­ni­ty.

Ar­tis­ts who wor­ked with Lie­ber­man on the pro­ject in­clu­de T­ha­bang Le­ho­bye, Ye­didya Falkson, Yi­non Falkson, as well as Da­ron C­hatz who hel­ped cap­tu­re the e­ar­ly work on the film, which was craf­ted in­to a beau­ti­ful short film by Dirk C­hal­mers (the vi­deo can be wa­t­ched on our web­si­te www. graaff­rei­ne­t­ad­ver­ti­ser.com).

The big-he­ar­ted pe­op­le be­hind the sce­nes, mo­ving funds a­round to help ma­ke this hap­pen - the FCB and Gi­ant Flag le­a­ders­hip - con­sist of B­rett Mor­ris, Jim­my Jou­bert, T­ha­bang S­kwam­ba­ne, Han­na Ma­ko­ba, Gra­ham Vi­vi­an, Sa­man­tha Gra­ham and Ka­tie Andrews, with so­lid help on the ground from Cin­dy Roux as well as the qui­et yet for­mi­da­ble T­ho­be­ka Booy­sen, the Gi­ant Flag’s com­mu­ni­ty li­ai­son who is her­self a re­si­dent of U­ma­si­zak­he’s Roy­al Block.

T­hanks are al­so ex­ten­ded to Andrew Cot­trell of Pro­mac Paints and Chro­ma Flo, as well as Mi­ca Har­dwa­re, Graaff­rei­net, for sup­plying the paint and plas­ter ne­ces­sa­ry for the com­ple­ti­on of the pro­ject.

Lo­cals and vi­si­tors a­li­ke are in­vi­ted to vi­sit the Roy­al Block to view the com­ple­ted art­work.

A le­ga­cy pro­ject of vast pro­por­ti­ons The Gi­ant Flag i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve, the of­fi­ces of which is si­tu­a­ted in Graaff-rei­net, is a pro­ject which as­pi­res to con­struct a gi­ant flag ma­de up of mil­li­ons of co­lou­red de­sert cacti and succu­lents, and a four-me­ga­watt so­lar field, on pre­vi­ous­ly-bar­ren land on the out­skirts of Graaff-rei­net. Vie­wa­ble from spa­ce and the si­ze of 66 soccer fields, the Gi­ant Flag is con­si­de­red a new mo­del of e­co­no­mic sti­mu­lus for pre­vi­ous­ly dis­ad­van­ta­ged com­mu­ni­ties and a ce­le­bra­ti­on of the spi­rit of South A­fri­ca and her pe­op­le. Vi­sit t­heir web­si­te, www.gi­ant­flag.co.za, to find out mo­re.

U­ma­si­zak­he’s Roy­al Block short­ly af­ter the o­ri­gi­nal di­la­pi­da­ted faça­des of the hou­ses we­re plas­te­red and gi­ven a new co­at of paint.

This p­ho­to was ta­ken of U­ma­si­zak­he’s his­to­ric Roy­al Block be­fo­re the pro­ject was tackled.

A sil­hou­et­te being pain­ted on a re­si­den­ce in U­ma­si­zak­he’s Roy­al Block.

The re­si­den­ces in U­ma­si­zak­he’s Roy­al Block upon com­men­ce­ment of the pro­ject.

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