Street art of Woodstock, Cape Town

The vibrant and revitalised area of Woodstock is home to a colourful array of street art. These murals and paintings are changing the mood of the area and contributing to its burgeoning arts scene. Warehouse conversions, galleries, cafés and boutiques are slowly transforming this suburb, only 10 minutes from Cape Town, into a hip and trendy precinct.

I’m taking a one-hour walking tour with local artist Juma Mkwela. He is guiding me around the streets of Woodstock, explaining that many local artists take to the streets to display their work, but also many international artists are invited here as resident artists.

They always ask permission from the building’s owners before creating their works, and 90 per cent of the time, people say yes. The works not only bring colour and life to the neighbourhood, but often come with messages of hope and change. Works range from political causes and human rights to peace and animal rights.

Nardstar*  is a female artist based in Cape Town, her work Raised by Wolves, looks at how human beings and animals are all the same. The animal has a human eye, and the vibrant colours used represent the diversity of cultures within South Africa.

Another artist raises awareness about endangered animals, such as the blue crane and the Rothschild’s giraffe.

A new mural, which was only finished two days before I take the tour, features an elephant swimming underwater. This was the first mural ever by a local artist named John. This massive work is bold and striking, and the unexpected sight of an elephant underwater really makes you stop and stare. Yet somehow it fits perfectly into the Woodstock area, which itself has been unexpectedly delightful.

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