Manenberg mosaic artists transform Civic Centre entrance

2016-11-29 17:01
Part of the Manenberg project mosaic at Cape Town's Civic Centre (Jenni Evans/News24)

Part of the Manenberg project mosaic at Cape Town's Civic Centre (Jenni Evans/News24)

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Cape Town – First they created detailed mosaics to adorn the walls of a new housing project in Manenberg. Now, they have gone on to decorate the dingy entrance to the Cape Town Civic Centre with their mosaic murals.

"We were all unemployed and we never knew we could do something like this," said Simoné Fortuin, posing proudly with her fellow mosaic artists at the unveiling of the project at the Marine Drive entrance to the Civic Centre on Tuesday.

Thamen Adonis laughed when he explained that it was something he had never considered before but now that the bug has bitten, he wants to do more.

The city unveiled the labour of love at a special ceremony inside the Civic Centre on Tuesday, with guests and creators marvelling at how the tiles transformed a drab and dingy entrance into a work of art.

"I had to Google what [a] mosaic is," quipped Jabaar Mohamed, DeafSA director for the Western Cape, who sent two deaf job seekers to join the project in Manenberg where it first started.

"I had no knowledge of art. I was more interested in employment opportunities for deaf people," he said through sign language interpreter Beryl Petersen.

20 young people trained

"But now I want more deaf people in the community to come to Cape Town to be part of this project."

City of Cape Town Human Settlements MEC Bendicta V
City of Cape Town Human Settlements MEC Bendicta Von Minnen and DeafSA provincial chair Jabaar Mohamed at the mosaic mural unveiling (Jenni Evans/News24)

Pauline Houniet from the city's human settlements department, whose brainchild the initiative is, was so impressed with the young people's artwork on the R123m Manenberg housing project, she wanted them to do more.

Houniet related how 20 expanded public works programme (EPWP) youths were trained in the fiddly business of cutting tiles to set into intricate patterns for the 180m² of mural needed for the housing project.

In addition to giving the EPWP employees and youths from DeafSA the chance to learn something new, the project was in line with the city's plan to rejuvenate Manenberg. The housing project is expected to be completed in February.

Houniet said when the youths had completed the Manenberg murals, she kept pushing for permission from the Civic Centre's facilities manager for space there to show off what the city's young citizens could do.

Using tiles in the black, white, blue, yellow, green and red of the city's logo, the team transformed the area, using mirror tiles to bring even more light into the space.

Simoné Fortuin, Janine Adonis and Natasha Carelse
Simoné Fortuin, Janine Adonis and Natasha Carelse next to their mosaic handiwork (Jenni Evans/News24)

In addition to learning a skill, they also received a stipend for their efforts.

"It was absolutely amazing, to see kids just get out of themselves and do something creative," said Houniet.

City 'encouraged'

Some in the group are also expected to be taught how to train other artists for further community projects.

Meanwhile, mosaic artist and owner of Mosaic Works in Cape Town Jackie Charles beamed at the final product.

She trained the boisterous youths and is pleased with what they achieved.

"They chatted, played loud music, it was great," said Charles, squinting to check the grouting.

The city's mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said she was delighted with the mural.

"We are very encouraged to see that the youth have not allowed their challenges to get in the way," said Van Minnen.

Cape Town Civic Centre mosaic mural
Cape Town Civic Centre mosaic mural. (Jenni Evans/News24) 

Read more on:    cape town  |  arts  |  good news

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