28 Dec, 2015

Lacing up Langa: Interview with Cape Town street artist Skubalisto

South African street artists have been busy over the past few months with murals shaping up walls for movements like #Feesmustfall and #RememberMarikana. It seems there's no slowing down and Mzansi street art is quickly transforming more and more public space…

Some of the dopest street artists from around the world were brought together this November by Red Bull Amaphiko to create a unique outdoor gallery in one of Cape Town's oldest suburbs – Langa. The aim of the 10-day street art initiative was to promote social innovation, uplift the area and collaborate…

Renowned Cape Town street artist Falko One and international artists Monstariam (Kuwait) and Mundano (Brazil) were the official artists of the initiative. But word on the street spread fast and other local, established street artists such as Skubalisto, Serge, Mr Migo, Rayaan Cassiem, Rob1, Conform, Jonny Koel and Drone teamed up to splash some paint in the 'hood.

We caught up with one of Cape Town's most fiery young artists, Skumbuzo Vabaza a.k.a Skubalisto about lacing up Langa with his signature portrait style…

Axecess: Where was most of the artwork done and why was the particular area in Langa chosen to paint?

Skubalisto: The area we painted in was the closest to Guga'Sthebe [Community Art Centre] and the most picturesque because of the circle effect. One would essentially walk in a circle and see all the artwork.

Axecess: Any interesting remarks or comments from the locals on the artwork?

Skubalisto: I think the process was what people found the most interesting – how an image didn't make sense at first and only at the very end it would become clear.

Axecess: Were any community members involved in the painting process and decision making?

Skubalisto: The artists walked around the neighbourhood and asked permission to paint from the community and most people were keen. It was pure creative freedom. Each of us were told to just to bring out A game! And as a result the community got involved and started cleaning up the dump sites, asking for 'no dumping signs', fixing their gardens etc… I also got a lot of requests to paint people like Robert Sobukwe!

Axecess: What was the ultimate aim of the project – do you think this was achieved?

Skubalisto: Social innovation... and yes I think this was very much achieved… This was an amazing initiative and it was amazing being able to work and socialize with artists from across the world. It made me realise how close we are in this country to really being a world force in creativity – art, music, dance etc – we just have to believe in and support each other which we don't necessarily do at the moment... We're too busy watching what the rest of the world is doing.

Watch what Skubalisto is doing around the country on: and keep your eyes open for the many outdoor galleries slowly spraying over Mzansi…

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