Faith in land and liberty

22 October 2010 - 02:12 By Jackie May

A woman with a child strapped to her back stands tall and powerful, as she looks over the Mother City.

The eight-storey-high mural, called Land and Liberty, was created recently by self-taught Capetonian artist Faith47.

Inspired by a photograph taken by Alexia Webster, Faith47 was moved by the story of "back-yarder" protesters - women, children, men and the elderly from Macassar Village, outside Cape Town, who live in back yards because there is no space or housing available or provided by the state.

Faith47 chose the building in Keizersgracht Street, in the city centre, "because it has a certain historical resonance as it is where protesters gather before they march to parliament".

She says that despite her own inspiration, the final image is open to interpretation. This grand, tall woman "belongs to the viewer" and "to its city, to its curse and its cure - to the variety of perceptions that make up our complex city".

The Cape Town woman is reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty.

That iconic statue, given to the US by France in 1886, represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.

Faith47 has become known both here and internationally for her work which, says the Paint Your Faith website, is both gentle and harsh, a commentary on the country that has raised her with both joy and heartache.

"Her art merges the intimately fragile and most subtle gestures with a raw and violent darkness," the website claims.

She has shown in galleries and taken part in projects across the globe.

  • Land and Liberty was funded by the British Council