Every year on the eighth of March International Women’s Day (IWD) pays tribute to the indomitable spirit of women across the globe. It celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality. This day recognises and celebrates the achievements of women.
The GraffitiStreet team celebrate International Woman’s Day every year and share with you the inspirational women involved in the exciting urban art scene. This year we caught up with internationally-acclaimed South African artist Faith XLVII.
Born in Cape Town, in 1979, Faith XLVII began painting in 1997, three years after the end of apartheid. Since 2006, Faith XLVII has extensively travelled all over the world, with her impactful murals visible in over fifty cities worldwide, creating influential solo exhibitions in Johannesburg, Miami, New York City and London. Faith XLVII now lives in Los Angeles and is currently working on her upcoming and highly anticipated solo show of 2020, ‘CHANT’, in her homeland, Cape Town.
Check out our interview with self-taught and inspirational female artist Faith XLVII below…
There have been many studies on how much creativity is attributable to nurture and richness of the environment, and how much is hardwired in our genes? Being a self-taught artist, do you feel that we are born creative? Is it in our genetic makeup, or is it something we learn?
Creativity is embedded into us from birth, skill is learnt over time. Anyone can be an artist/musician/creative human being. It’s the ability to tune into the collective conscious, into your own self, into the mood and challenges of a time or political situation. Often creativity can come from a place of angst and therefore is a part of the growing/healing/learning/rebirth process.
As a street artist, you are known to be among the most politically and socially engaged artists. You have painted murals such as ‘Populi Suprema Lex Esto’, painted on Skid Row, Los Angeles addressing homelessness, ‘Estamos Todos Los Que Cabemos’ in Harlem that speaks of immigration and’ 722 – 481 BC’ in Manchester to support LGBT rights. You have achieved a voice that is amplified through your artistic expression. What drives you to speak for the voiceless and empower the powerless?
I grew up in South Africa, where you are face to face with inequality and social distortions on a daily basis. I have a keen awareness of human rights and the gravity of ignorance and lack of empathy that we see in the world weighs heavy on my soul. Sometimes the only way for me to cope with this is to make artwork about it.
However this is not primarily my main focus of thematic in my work, I am interested in subtle inner-shifting work, reflecting on the wisdom of the universe and our place within it. But I do understand that the more intimately spiritually we dive into the inner world, we still must exist in the real world and face the real-world issues. I also see the inner and outer worlds as reflective, affecting each other.
Your on-going ASTRONOMIA NOVA project pays a beautiful homage to our great timekeepers and the ancient internal rhythms. Do you feel with modern living our natural cycles and rhythms are arrhythmic? How can we retune ourselves?
Living in cities we are disconnected to the cycle of light and dark, to our connection to the food we eat and often are lacking in community. Our disconnection to the natural world is something that allows us to make decisions with a certain amount of disassociation to the cause and effect of our collective actions. Reconnecting to the natural world, allows us to see ourselves as a vital part of the life cycle of all existing phenomena.
Our personal ‘art experience’ is derived from our reality, our own experiences, influences and memories all have an impact on how we perceive and experience art. What is the actual/true experience of art? That of the artist? Or that of the perceiver?
Words can be so cumbersome. Often to make poetry, you have to break language. Visual art, however, speaks in archetypal symbols, in colour, shape, form. It has a language unrestricted by words and is open to abstract thought and interpretation. I am interested in this as it has the ability to directly communicate from and to the heart, the gut, the mind in ways indescribable with logical explanation.
On your recent travels home to Cape Town we have seen your graffiti-era lettering in abandoned buildings and leaving the word ‘CHANT’ in a repetitive way on the streets. Do you have a favourite motivational quote? Or words of wisdom/ spiritual guidance that continues to empower you?
I often find solace in Rudolf Steiner’s quote…
‘even if the world appears to be filled with suffering, it is, nevertheless radiating with wisdom’
‘CHANT’ is also the title of your upcoming and highly anticipated solo show in Cape Town this coming April. We’ve seen some great teasers! What can we expect to see?
This is a show that explores various mediums and it takes an honest and hard look at the world around us.
CHANT asks, ‘How does one stand centered in the face of the ceaseless onslaught of social and economic upheaval’
This year’s International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual. An equal world is an enabled world. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. What does that mean to you?
Each person has the task of understanding their own unique feminine and masculine energies within their own psyche. Once we all are comfortable with ourselves, then we can respect others in their own varying degree of masculine and feminine, despite what physical gender they might have. And yes. Equal pay for equal work. Of course.
In South Africa, the rate of Gender-Based Violence is incredibly high, so I am crudely aware of how much work still needs to be done to re-educate and also empower.
As both, an influential South African and inspirational female street artist, Faith XLVII’s murals speak of political and social issues, human rights and spiritual mindfulness that empower, enlighten and awaken empathy, hope, curiosity and inner strength.
GraffitiStreet would like to thank Faith XLVII for taking time out of her busy schedule for our International Woman’s Day special interview 2020.