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Is that an ad on the billboard? No‚ it's art

21 October 2018 - 16:12 By Nico Gous
Local artist Robyn Pretorius showcases her work on a billboard on the corner of Strand and Rose streets.
Local artist Robyn Pretorius showcases her work on a billboard on the corner of Strand and Rose streets.

If you pass the corner of Strand and Rose streets in Cape Town in the next three months‚ look up. No‚ that is not a commercial on that billboard. It’s art.

A new self-funded project called ArtPublika wants to showcase art in public spaces. The billboard in the Mother City showcases the artwork of local artist Robyn Pretorius and will be on display from October to December.

ArtPublika’s Simon de la Rouviere wrote on Saturday: “The goal was to find a billboard that’s in the city where others would walk past and be able to stop and look at it: not highways where you just drive past them.”

He added: “Besides finding novel ways to re-imagine public art‚ we also want to explore how we create more art‚ especially for consumption by the many.”

The artwork by Pretorius is a self-portrait.

“The faded symbols are the rock paintings and the settlers’ ship to represent the history of Cape Town - the encounter of two cultures. The branches represent the complexities of the social and cultural dynamics of Cape Town. It can also become a personal representation of life difficulties.”

Pretorius said on Instagram she believed the project would “change the game on promoting local talent within city spaces”.

“I’m soooo overwhelmed with emotions right now! This is by far the MOST TRIPPIEST [sic] experience ever!”

De la Rouviere started wondering if something different could be done with billboards about two years ago.

“During that time‚ a friend‚ Oda Tungodden (Norwegian artist)‚ painted a large mural in Cape Town and I was inspired to utilise billboards as public art canvases.”

They have also received new work for future billboards.

“When we scoured for potential artists‚ we saw so many amazing pieces that could lighten up the city. At the moment‚ we want to [do] a billboard run at least once a year in Cape Town.”