Bus art shows local talent, history

2015-12-01 06:00
 Ceramic artworks by renowned Cape Town potter Mervyn Gers at the MyCiti station in Adderley Street depict the transformation in transport in the city centre.  PHOTO: Bruce Sutherland/ City of Cape Town

Ceramic artworks by renowned Cape Town potter Mervyn Gers at the MyCiti station in Adderley Street depict the transformation in transport in the city centre. PHOTO: Bruce Sutherland/ City of Cape Town

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Historic images of transport in Cape Town, installed at the MyCiTi bus station in Adderley Street this week, are the latest addition to a growing portfolio of art at 24 stations along MyCiTi routes. Local artists are commissioned to display their talent with the bus station buildings and windows as their canvases.

The images on the sides of the station in Adderley Street were reproduced onto ceramic tiles by renowned Cape Town potter Mervyn Gers, says Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport.

“The images capture the vibrancy of Adderley Street at a time when public transport was still in its infancy – a befitting ode to this site at the heart of the Cape Town central business district.”

Four black-and-white photos were selected, depicting people from all walks of life in transit in the city centre from as early as 1895 to the 1940s.

The first image illustrates life in Adderley Street in 1895, some decades before the arrival of cars. Trams are zigzagging, people are strolling on sidewalks, and horse carriages are transporting goods.

The second image dates from 1896, with a tram driver steering the machine. The third image portrays traffic in Adderley Street in the 1930s with trams, people and a single car travelling towards the harbour, with Table Mountain in the background.

The fourth image gives one an idea of rush hour in Hanover Street in the 1940s, with young men and women fighting for space on a moving tram.

“The images on these walls illustrate the one certainty that every city around the globe faces: constant change. As our cities expand with more people and bigger economies, we have to adapt to the growing demand for public transport,” Herron says.

Artwork has been installed at the majority of MyCiTi stations across the city and more art is in the process of being commissioned. The work varies from mosaic works to sculptures, ceramics, mural paintings, drawings and sandblasted images.

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