A Living Wall for Swellendam – Public Art and Community Building ……



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The benefits of this project as a piece of Public Art are wide ranging and fulfil all the requirements of Responsible Tourism. (Social / Economic / Environmental/

  • CONTRIBUTE to the broader policies and strategies of the IDP as they relate to the community, social development, the environment and planning.
  • PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY for Local Government to present a different ‘face’ to the public
  • HELP CREATE an environment that reflects pride. It will become a familiar feature generating a sense of ownership, a sense of place and helping cultivate community identity – (Oom Pietie’s garden is a successful example of this)
  • ENCOURAGE CHILDREN and young people to be proud of their town and appreciate art more broadly
  • INCREASE AWARENESS and promote expression within the community through public debate.
  • ENCOURAGE the viewer to understand and respect various community members and groups
  • ENABLE RECOGNITION of and respect for links between individuals and the environment
  • DELIVER A RANGE of outcomes through community involvement. Including increased community participation and engagement, opportunities for creative and practical skills development and increased social capital
  • OFFER INSIGHTS into issues, through the communication, research and expression of artists. The ideas presented will enrich cultural experiences
  • ENRICH the everyday experience. Art in the public arena can be chanced upon by accident; it is free to observe, there are no class or social barriers.
  • OFFER VISITORS insights into regional identity, and helps to create regional distinctiveness through the unique connections between works of art and their environments.
  • USE LOCAL MATERIALS AND IMAGERY can become features, local traditions and communities can be celebrated, and cultural tourism benefits can be realised
  • ENHANCE a public space which is currently ugly, making it more attractive, and encourage people to experience and enjoy them
  • INVOLVE the viewer in interpreting and understanding.
  • CREATE diverse employment and professional development opportunities for artists, fabricators and associated professionals, and adds value to the built environment.

Project Partners:  (/ Municipality / Transnet / Museum / Heritage)

  • consult with and involve the community
  • manage budget
  • liaise with engineers and fabricators in the design and costing of the artwork
  • consider risk management and assessment issues
  • manage fabrication and installation
  • make public presentations to community groups, stakeholders, Council meetings
  • undertake project evaluation and report writing
  • complete funding applications or seek project sponsorship

The Artist:

  • will respond to numerous issues defined in the brief, such as interpreting history or responding to local community values
  • work in collaboration with other artists or design professionals
  • Will consult with relevant community members to inform and influence the project, to varying degrees.
  • The artist engaged will ensure historical accuracy within the parameters of artistic license.
  • The final draft plan should be approved by all stakeholder groups and investors before work begins
  • The artist will be responsible for coordinating and over-seeing the community and professional artists who will be undertaking the work.


The long grey concrete wall which was erected by Transnet, effectively reinforcing the divide between the two sections of the community, is ugly. It is gradually and unsurprisingly being used as a blank page for graffiti artists whose main focus is rather crude anatomical representations. The wall is a blank canvas, waiting for a story to be told.


The story should unfold in a sequential way either from right to left or left to right. Episodic in style with both generic and specific moments in the history of the area, and bound together with endemic natural and geological features.

For example:

Pre human (wild animals indigenous to thearea) / Khoi stories (including Lang Elsie)  / Trekboers (Ox wagons etc – show trading activity)  / Development of trade etc /Building of Tradouws Pass /Sugar Bridge  / Story of the Kadie / Malgas Pont

The Rebellion of the Burghers / Republic /Building of the Church /The Bus Crash  /Interpersed with unique features (brandy berries bonteboks ) / The Double Century etc etc

(the names of all seven towns of the Greater Swellendam Municipality will feature.)


Permission to be sought from TransNet for use of wall and all other necessary permissions

Sponsorship to be sought from Department of Arts and Culture, commercial paint firms

Expressions of interest to be sought from artists.  They will be invited to submit outline ideas and provide costings for their work.

Research and development: Brief designed and given to the chosen Lead Artist.  This will be done in consultation with Museum, Heritage, Aesthetics, Municipality, Tourism (+ ?)

Lead Artist prepares artwork, first on paper and then on wall in sections.

Community Artists will be invited to participate on the day of the BIG PAINT. The Wall will be placed into sections and each Artist will take responsibility for a section. Each artist will have an allocated team of members of the community ad schools.

The Paint will take place over a period of three days hopefully attracting other events such as a Colour Run.

It may be filmed by SABC or by a commercial paint firm for advertising purposes, or both.  It will also be filmed locally using a drone and time-lapse go-pro for further marketing.

Prior to the Big Paint, the Lead Artist will work with the Community Artists to ensure that their interpretation is in line with the main design. As the sections meet each other it is important that the continuity is maintained.


Budget requirements

  • Artist payment
  • Community Artist expenses
  • Paint
  • Brushes and other equipment
  • Ladder hire



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