Wall art - an ode to a respected woman

2016-12-01 06:00
)Front page: Buntu Fihla’s mural in Maduna Road of Thuli Madonsela.                            ;His graffiti art was part of the Visual Art Network of SA public art initiative where he partnered with fashion designer Yanga Mgabadeli and Titans seamer Ayavuya Myoli to create this taxi-rank styled pop-up stall shoot.         Photo: www.buntufihla.com

)Front page: Buntu Fihla’s mural in Maduna Road of Thuli Madonsela. ;His graffiti art was part of the Visual Art Network of SA public art initiative where he partnered with fashion designer Yanga Mgabadeli and Titans seamer Ayavuya Myoli to create this taxi-rank styled pop-up stall shoot. Photo: www.buntufihla.com

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He wants his daughter one day to become just as strong and principled as Thuli Madonsela, therefore Buntu Fihla, a well-known artist, painted a larger- than-life Thuli on a wall of a derelict building in Maduna Road, Uitenhage.

For Fihla this was exactly the right spot, because for him art must serve among other things, to portray a strong message, hope and inspiration.

Indeed this is the case with the “Maduna Road Thuli”, as art is a powerful social commentary medium and Thuli Madonsela one of the most respected persons in the world. Facing a combination of these two, subconsciously makes one bow from pure admiration.

“As a new parent to a daughter there is not a better example - of the kind of and standard we want black woman to rise to and to take on all kinds of injustices - than Thuli Madonsela,” said Buntu Fihla, an art photographer, graffiti artist and graphic designer operating in the art industry since 2006.

He was nominated by Mail & Guardian as one of the top 200 Young South Africans and among the list of exhibitions where his art was seen are countries like Switzerland and France.

“I was driving past the building together with my cousin, Babalu Fihla, and the wall just stood out. I immediately knew I wanted to do something different on that wall, something that could be way more far reaching. And then I decided it would be a portrait of Thuli Madonsela.”

Fihla’s artwork captured the expression of a person who serves as a beacon of patriotic pride. A person who gained respect for her ability to address corruption in top structures and who speaks truth to power.

“For the past couple of years, this is what I have been doing, going to derelict places or buildings giving them a rejuvenating finish through my graffiti or murals.

“I mostly do my normal graffiti and lettering which might look like very conventional graffiti to most people. In South Africa this is not really celebrated as a form of art but seen as vandalism.”

Fihla titled the Maduna Road Thuli “My President”.

“When you talk about Thuli Madonsela, you talk about so many values that all of South Africa loves. You talk about anti-corruption you talk about fees must fall you talk about principles, good leadership, all of these things in one person. So, it is just really to say this is one of South Africa’s most respected persons. Certainly in my view.”

Finding right walls in good public areas where there is a lot of foot traffic is a difficult task.

“It almost costs me more money to find a good wall than the actual painting. This is because you have to follow protocol and sometimes there is red tape, and so many people to talk to before you finally get the go-ahead. It is very time-consuming.”

Fihla invites owners of buildings with walls which have good visual value, on which he can have his murals or graffiti painted to contact him via his website.

Some of his graffiti art can be viewed in the upper part of Parliament Street in a short corridor behind a black gate. His art can also be viewed on his website www.buntufihla.com

He is currently also working on a project where he will be shooting portraits of influential women in the community where he hails from, Phakamisa near King William’s Town.

He also did a large project where he changed the feel of a whole township street through various murals with different themes. The following quote from Thuli Madonsela might be best suited to the mural in Maduna Road:

At times we to have to stand alone with only hope as our companion. If you stand for the truth and do so long enough hope does eventually pay.”

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