COP17: Clean Graffiti
A series of murals, using the technique of reverse graffiti, have been realised across Durban. The murals were the result of a collaboration between the urban street art and design collective Dutch Ink, along with four artists from the iSimangaliso programme at the St Lucia Wetland Park: Girlie Gumede, Thulani Mkhize, Nhlanhla Mabaso and Sam Mtshali. The workshop process which generated the imagery in dialogue with issues around COP 17 was facilitated by Durban based artist/activist/architectural collective Dala, whose knowledge of the city and its complex social spaces informed the creative process. Dala is in the process of developing a small publication about the concept development process for the project.
Reflection from Martin Pace (Dutch Ink)
In collaboration with the artists group from Isimangaliso, we began our three week
journey during the COP 17 conference in Durban.
Mediated by Dala, we began our workshops with a series of individual introductions
and presentations of personal works, this familiarized ourselves with each of our
disciplines. On Day one we had a series of presentations from other organizations,
this left us with a greater feel for the scale of work we were undertaking and the
importance of the visual messages we aim to communicate.
During the course of week one, we put pencil to paper and derived some beautiful
visual narratives around the environment. Each narrative was derived via Dala
mediation through personal consultations. We then digitized and transformed the
imagery into large scale wooden stencils.
We then got geared up and began executing the narratives onto the grimy concrete
walls and floors of the Durban CBD, in and around high traffic zones, via the
medium, Reverse Graffiti. Our rig consisted of two open back vehicles, a petrol
generator, a 200L water tank, High pressure hoses, stencils and a team of dedicated
artists. The water used to run the high pressure hoses was sourced from rain
During the course of the last ten days, the team and I were seen on numerous sites,
sharing our art with tourists and the local commuters in and around the city. We often
paused to educate those interested in what we were up to, and I am happy to report
that it was all positively accepted.
In conclusion, we as Dutch Ink learnt a great deal in how to co-operate with the
passionate artists. This was the most challenging dynamic to this adventure, but all
ended well with great work to show for our efforts. This has been a joy and we look
forward to future collaborations.
Please see VANSA's COP 17 map for more detail on the locations of these murals.