Gasak showcases his graffiti exhibition

2012-09-27 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG graffiti artist Anthony Kirkwood — better known by his tag, Gasak — is hosting the first graffiti art exhibition in the city from tomorrow to September 30 at the Parklane shopping centre.

Aerosoul Heart aims to raise money for Kirkwood’s next project, Face the Peace, in which he plans to use his art to take on criminal organisations in Mexico. He hopes to raise awareness about the devastating effects of drugs, and that his project will help to bring peace.

The young artist intends travelling to El Paso in the United States and Juarez in Mexico, where he will paint giant portraits of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter.

“People have asked me why I don’t just paint here in South Africa, but there is no point trying to fight the drug lords if you don’t try to do it in their heartland,” Kirkwood says of the project. “Hopefully, by doing this, I will have an impact.”

The project was inspired by Kirkwood’s own close encounter with drug dealers on the streets of Durban. “Last year, before I did Faces to Inspire [his painting project in KwaMashu], I was trying to raise money for paint. I went to Point Road because I thought I could paint one of the clubs.

“I got permission to paint one, and a week later I was mugged by eight men who stole my cellphone and threatened me. The police wouldn’t act because they took me inside a building and the officers thought I was selling my phone for drugs. I feel this is the only way I can try to make a stand.”

Aerosoul Heart will feature between 15 and 20 works, including the eight famous faces he will be painting in the U.S. and Mexico, and other images that show aerosol paint cans being used in place of missiles on a plane. “Paint is my weapon of choice to add colour to people’s lives,” Kirkwood said.

The exhibition will be officially opened at 5 pm tonight by Mike Tarr, and can be viewed between 9 am and 5 pm from September 28 to September 30.

“Ashley Hesse, from Parklane, has given me such a great opportunity to showcase my art on canvas. I have been honoured to work with him in creating the Aerosoul Heart exhibition,” Kirkwood said.

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