Youth show positivity in mural

2015-10-13 06:00
A colourful mural wraps Strandfontein Library in Welgelegen Avenue. The mural was partly designed by local youngsters.

SAmantha Lee

A colourful mural wraps Strandfontein Library in Welgelegen Avenue. The mural was partly designed by local youngsters. PHOTOS: SAmantha Lee

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The Strandfontein Library is now wrapped in a colourful mural stamping out negativity.

The community project was the result of a partnership between the library, international mural artist Joel Bergner, the Youth Social Development Programme’s 9Miles Project, You2Africa and the Park Inn by Radisson company.

It was part of the hotel company’s #AddColourToLives initiative and features positive messages from the youth of the area. These youngsters came up with the themes and imagery during a workshop with Bergner.

In one section of the outside mural, a girl is surfing a giant wave on a book, which reflects both a popular activity and the importance of reading and learning.

The book shows a poem written by one of the participating girls.

In another section a menacing shark heads for a swimming boy, who faces him with a determined look.

The shark is filled with negativity and violence, while all around the boy are positive elements of the community: Family, education, friendship and respect, that guide him to defeat the negative elements.

On the other side of the building is a tree that grows from the parking lot up onto the walls, with the treetop filled with depictions of growth and dreams for the future.

Bergner, a world-renowned muralist, street artist and educator, designed the mural with the help of the youngsters and completed it in about a week.

The mural was revealed on Wednesday last week.

The mural project aimed to voice the sentiments of disadvantaged youth, like street children and vulnerable youngsters who may be refugees or from underprivileged neighbourhoods.

“Through public art, we want to give a platform to those voices that are rarely heard in society, to help them express and communicate their hopes, dreams, opinions, and feelings to the wider world,” says Bergner.

“Apart from being a talented and internationally renowned artist, that spreads joy with colours and his art, Bergner is also an unequalled educator who brings people from different cultures together around a single artistic project. This project was a great opportunity to give a voice to the youth of Strandfontein and for Park Inn to showcase its true colours to the community of Cape Town,” says Jim Schleich, general manager of Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore.

“We immediately felt involved and concerned by this project,” says Nigel Savel of the 9Miles project. “We are very pleased that youth from our local community can add bright and vibrant colours to the façade of our library. #AddColourToLives is a fantastic worldwide project that raises a smile on the faces of those who truly deserve a good time.”

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