Mural beautifies city, boosts artists,Artwork focuses on history, future of automotive sector

The BMW mural art project concluded on September 30, and the 12m-long wall outside the dealership in Berea has been transformed into a burst of colour that captures the city’s rich automotive history.

The mural took two weeks to complete from conception to final display and the project was facilitated by BMW’s representative Azola Ntlantsana.

Funded by Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) in collaboration with BMW, the project saw five local artists mentored by celebrated BCM creatives, Nathan Sanan and Lwando Hlazo.

Resplendent in the reds and blues of BMW, the mural captures the potential of East London’s motor sector and the city’s hopes in the industry’s continued growth in a rapidly progressing world.

With a woman subject placed at the centre of the mural, it brings to the fore the vision of benefit for all in the future development of the city.

Spotting the mural from the road, BCM resident Nikita Watson said: “I love this kind of street art and when I was driving past, I was so delighted that I circled back to come and have a look.

“I hope that more businesses like BMW come forward to support programmes to beautify our spaces because the impact is far reaching.

“The city looks better, people take better care of it, and it provides work and exposure for the well spring of talented local artists we have.

“If you don’t invest in your own city, you won’t see improvements.”

To acknowledge their hard work the top three apprentices, Sango Filita, Pumlani Mbiyozo and Siphelele Mrubata were awarded R5,000 stipends from ECCPAC and gifts sponsored by BCM Tourism, collectively to the value R8,700 including trophies and vouchers.

The artists, all brilliant minds with backgrounds in curatorship, research, multimedia art, graphic design, oil painting and sketching, among other self-taught mediums, are grateful for the opportunity and believe that the mural has enriched their lives.

Filita said: “East London has very few murals yet the demand from residents for public art is there.

“Being a part of this project has taught us about working on a bigger scale with spray paint, which is not an easy feat when you are facing high wind speeds and rain.

“It also taught us courage because this is a piece of art in the public space that will have a life bigger than us. This may also lead us to getting more commissions because this mural gives the public a chance to see our skills.”

The artists hope to that viewers of the mural are left with a sense of celebration of the journey that BMW has gone through to become a key role player in automotive industry.

Sanan and Hlazo hope that East London will imminently become a hub for public art because of its ability to bring contrasting beauty into derelict areas with struggling communities.

Sanan said: “When people interact with the art it combats a deep-seated negativity that pervades how we think of our country and our city.

“Our art can become part of the identity of our communities because there are unique aspects that set people from different areas in east London apart from one another, and the art can highlight the beauty in this diversity.”

Hlazo said: “The public art goes along towards proving that East London has two universities with robust art departments that are the meccas of art in the Eastern Cape.”

TRANSFORMING THE LANDSCAPE: Three winning artists, from left, Siphelele Mrubata, Sango Filita and Pumlani Mbiyozo in front of the completed mural at the BMW office in Berea. Pictures: TAMMY FRAY

ECPACC will be mentoring the top three winning artists with a programme aimed at empowering them with business skills in hopes that they can generate opportunities for employment for themselves and others.

MEANINGFUL: Resplendent in the reds and blues of BMW, the mural captures the potential of East London’s motor sector and the city’s hopes in the industry’s continued growth in a rapidly progressing world.


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