By ARNO CORNELISSEN
Gqeberha meets Makhanda
Makhanda artist and teacher Mook Lion, invited me along for a trip down the N2. The destination: Gqeberha. The event: PowerTalks.
Its idea is to encourage participation in creating discourses surrounding the notion of power through the “curation of environments that are simultaneously disruptive and conducive”.
Curator Buntu Fihla, who is also a visual artist and graphic designer, lined up multiple platforms of art, artists, speakers, and topics of discussion. I’m a bit ashamed that I did not make it to any of the talks – guilty – but my attention was drawn – stuck – to Mook Lion and Fal. Kab, who showcased their experienced methods of creating art with spray paint.
Preparing for the day
Early in the morning, Buntu Fihla welcomes us to the venue, where we begin offloading paint and whatever else is needed to get the job done. Also armed with chips, energy drinks, and the odd Grandpa to keep creeping headaches at bay, we are ready for a long day of painting.
Setting up the gazebo
Leon and Sheamus – members of the PowerTalks team who help make some of the magic happen – set up a gazebo that turned out mostly ineffective against the sun, but excellent for threatening to take out whoever stands close enough to it when the wind picks up. On the other side, Mook Lion begins mapping out his side of the canvas.
Fal.Kab and Mook Lion freestyle
Fal.Kab’s approach leans toward a freestyle plan. Mook takes on a more technical approach, “TD crew,” he says, joking about himself (‘Technical Drawing’ crew). Experienced graffiti artists are respected for their ability to freestyle an intricate piece in the least amount of time. Street art, on the other hand, often offers the luxury of extra time.
Collabs and knowledge
Mook and ‘X’ (from The Black Power Station in Makhanda) meet again in a neighbouring city. They have been, and still are, spreading knowledge and collaborating on various street art projects in and around Makhanda. One of these is on the corner of African and Somerset Streets.
Fuel for the fire
Past-midday – progress! Mook and Fal.Kab take a well-deserved lunch break, waiting for some chow organised by the hosts from a little food truck on the side of the road. They took their time, but the food was worth it; more fuel for the fire.
Street art talks back
Fal.Kab and Mook Lion sign off another collab. They clean up nicely. Toward ten o’clock, the discussion of where to put the piece now springs up; no one seems sure. My hopes are that it makes its way somewhere onto the streets of Gqeberha, where people can witness their artwork and think about the ways in which power talks.
See also: https://stypes.wordpress.com/2022/10/14/street-art-talks/