If you are fortunate enough to be a friend of my friend Jenni Sennet, you would know the particular pleasure of being drawn into her exuberant ambit of immense, endless, and edifying energy. Her well runs deep.
On any given weekday she is to be found in a state of extreme organisational overdrive. Her unstated aim is to improve the world she finds in small (and not so small), but always interesting, ways. So when Jenni says, “Let’s go for a walk,” you can be sure it will be of this sort of improving variety.
True to form, such was the charm of the walking tour she arranged for an afternoon in Salt River. A wall-by-wall encounter with street art on a monumental scale. In February a who’s-who of South African and international street artists participated in the annual International Public Art Festival organised by Baz-Art — an exceptional endeavour now in its fifth year that has changed the aspect of Salt River and turned this charming neck of Cape Town’s inner city into a wonderland of delight. Over 100 artworks have been integrated into the street scape of the city. My eyes watered at the joy, humour, and thoughtful messaging made manifest over so much of the neighbourhood in magnificent technicolour; each work unique and uniquely collaborative. I was awed by the sheer brilliance of the skill displayed, and marvelled at the humble spraypaint can’s capacity to express so much technical skill, verve, and imagination.
Most of all, I admired how the Salt River community has indulged, celebrated, and entered into the creation of the artworks in such an open-hearted way. Many of the works reflect the stories and the people living inside the houses, buildings, and schools that the works live on. This year’s theme was “100% Sustainable” and our tour guide, Baz-Art’s Sipho Sangweni, enthusiastically brought to life the stories of the making of all these marvellous three-dimensional creatures, abstract elements, and graphic explorations. And my friend Jenni scored another hit with her fellow travellers.
• From the May edition of Wanted, 2021.