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Where to go for some of the best contemporary street art in Africa

contemporary street art - Africacontemporary street art - Africa
contemporary street art - Africacontemporary street art - Africa

 

Where to go for some of the best contemporary street art in Africa

Art comes in various forms, shapes, textiles and sizes. And while everyone may have an art-medium preference, there’s no denying the beauty and character that street brings to its surroundings.

Africa is booming with contemporary art galleries, but it’s time to start appreciating the contemporary masterpieces on building walls – the “open-air” gallery for the world to see. And there are countries all over the continent with influential street art that should be viewed and praised.

 

In Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa is home to many contemporary artists. We’ll be looking at the street art found in Cape Town (Western Cape) and Johannesburg (Gauteng), one of which has a piece that is on the list of top street art murals in the world.

  • Cape Town: Considering that Cape Town is becoming the cultural capital of Africa, it’s no surprise that there is vibrant street art decorating the city’s walls. The best streets in Cape Town to view this type of art are in Woodstock. Woodstock has more than a handful of art galleries in its narrow streets that have drawn the attention of creatives from all over the city. It’s the art-place to place to be after the Zeitz MOCAA by the V&A Waterfront. As for street art, there aren’t many buildings that don’t have a mural all over it.
  • Johannesburg: On the Signature Lux Hotel in Sandton City, is a giant mural of an African elephant by the internationally renowned South African street artist, Faith. This mural has made it on the top list of street artworks in the world. Aside from that, you can take a street art walking tour through Johannesburg that will show you the best street art in Newton, Braamfontein, Maboneng and Jozi’s inner city. There is so much to see on the once bare walls of these streets that is a true reflection of contemporary African art.

The places mentioned above are not the only parts of South Africa that are rich in contemporary street art. There are many urban and rural areas alike that have been used as the street artists’ canvas. It’s worth a visit and exploring to see not only the striking images but the stories they tell in correlation with their surrounding environment.

 

In Nairobi, Kenya

In the capital city of Kenya, we find bursts of street art throughout the city. Wisetwo and Smoki La are two collaborative African artists whose works have not only placed Kenya on the street art map but have been displayed in Paris, Australia and other countries across the globe.

Then there’s also the trio of Kenyan graffiti artists, Bebeto Ochieng, Kenneth Otieno and Wanyande Musasia that make up the Bomb Squad (BSQ) Crew. These three were asked to create a graffiti mural for the European Union headquarters in Belgium to which the Queen of Belgium was a spectator.

Many of Africa’s well-known contemporary artists are from Kenya, and it’s clear to see that the artists from this country are multidisciplinary and contenders in every artistic field. The goal of street artists in Kenya, however, is to help people understand this discipline of art. African art is evolving and it’s important that people come to realise and appreciate that fact.

 

In Dakar, Senegal

Senegal doesn’t exactly strike the world as an art-hub, let alone a graffiti art-hub. But they’re actually the hosts of a 10-day graffiti festival in April called “Festigraff” where street artists from all over attend and create art. It started in 2018 and is an annual get together for hip-hop and street artists to celebrate their art style.

One of the leading street artists of Senegal is Dieynaba Sidibe. She also happens to be the country’s first female graffiti artist. Her artworks are focused around empowering women and promoting their rights in a society that still restricts women to certain roles and expectations. You can find some of her strong pieces on the Africulturban Centre building in Pikine, Dakar.

 

In Rabat, Morocco

The streets of Rabat in Morocco is another place to meander amongst African street art. They host a street art festival in April called Jidar where local and international artists come together and paint the city’s walls every colour in their painter’s palette. There are also smaller street art festivals hosted in other cities of the country – all aimed at encouraging youth to appreciate the artistry. It’s not uncommon to find most of the towns in Morocco with street art displays on the buildings.

Most of the mural themes are derived from their local surroundings, making them true contemporary African art pieces. They celebrate their culture and their people while using their wall canvases as mediums for social change too (as is the case with most street art).

African street art has powerful messages for societies and they’re more than just bold colours and images. Take a walk through the streets of one of these cities in Africa, and you’ll understand completely.

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