By Emma Regolini
May 1st, 2020
Faith XLVII (47) is an internationally acclaimed visual artist from Cape Town, South Africa. As an interdisciplinary artist, Faith47’s work speaks to issues of human rights, social issues and spiritual endurance across different races and genders.
Her career spanning across the last two decades has seen her work on the walls of abandoned factories to bustling marketplaces, Skid Row and gallery settings.
In post-apartheid country, Faith47 found her work inspired by the social and political issues around her in South Africa. Even at first glance, her murals strike a deeper tone within the viewer, transcending their physical location.
Imagery depicting political problems, environmental destruction, women’s rights and humanitarian subjects, Faith47 debunks these issues with a truthfulness and emotive nuance allowing the viewer to reflect on the human condition and the world around us.
A recurring theme in Faith47’s work is the physical location in which she stages her murals. These spaces become somewhat of a sanctum or spiritual place where the work can breathe and speak for itself.
Faith explains that, “there’s a fragility in these [broken down, decaying] environments as it reflects life [or one that once was]. She has also mentioned that,
“These empty building feel like spiritual experiences, exploring holy chambers of neglected architecture.”Faith XLVII
Creating art in these spaces brings an air of intimacy between the viewer and the artwork. The feeling of spirituality, Faith has mastered across many diverse environments.
Her work in Warwick Triangle, Durban, South Africa (2014) presents murals across six huge walls on four support columns of the N3 viaduct adjacent to the Early Morning Market in Warwick. Faith has said that the energy on the streets breathes life into the work.
An artist has the ability to learn so much and see different layers of culture and systems in these open environments, something that can’t be experienced in a studio.
The project at Warwick Triangle allowed Faith to explore the notion of an informal economy and celebrate traders from the market, highlighting the everyday man or woman on the street. The artworks also feature cultural tapestry patterns and poem excerpts from Durban locals.
Faith’s artwork depicted Eirene the Greek goddess of peace, highlighting the importance of actively working towards societies which function on open communication and inclusion, core pillars of humanity.
The detailed and montage-like projections interacted with the work to communicate a narrative alluding to borders, immigration, freedom of movement, protesting and the strength of the human spirit above all.
The raw intimacy and vulnerability in Faith’s work carries a profound weight of human interconnectedness and the sanctity of human life and what we make of it.
In 2011, Faith referred to the street art scene as a new art movement that many “had not yet got their head around.” It has now become a way to start conversations and connect individuals.
She explained [in year’s to come] “people will be reading about it in art history textbooks.” A visionary in her own right, Faith47 is one of the most revered female street artists in history.