The fabric and tattoos of the Mother City

How the rainbow nation comes to life through Cape Town artists

South Africa, and – to a larger extent – Africa, is the birthplace of human kind and in many ways the soil from which art and storytelling have grown. 

The origins of African art lie long before recorded history. From the rich collection of 4000-year-old cave and rock paintings of the San Bushmen to ancient Egyptian paintings and artefacts, indigenous southern crafts and the homegrown conceptual art movement that sprang up as apartheid came to an end in the 1990s. 

Today the Mother City is a vibrant art hub of SA. She is a melting pot of cultures, flavours and creative expressions. You can see her colours in the way she is tattooed masterfully with street art in Salt River or Woodstock or even in the simple colour block magic of Bo-Kaap streets – born out of political freedom.  You will see her creativity glint in the incredible metallic and recycled artwork that stems from her townships.  

And the art she nurses is more than just graphic or traditional. It resonates in the wardrobe of her thriving, innovative, diverse and authentic fashion industry, her patchwork textiles that give the fabric of this city a wanderlust sensation. You can taste it in the simmering pots in her kitchen that includes ingredients from every culture to create something truly unique.  

It echoes in the more rustic artworks found along street edges as well as in the glistening and sleek newly build homes for her work.

A visit to the pristine and modern Zeitz Mocaa will transport you to her more urban art scene. Where you'll stumble across works and exhibitions that are abstract, textural and visceral - very much a visual representation of the Cape in the 21st Century.

Or if you opt to swing by one of her several Iziko Museums, you'll be taken back in time through the histories that have woven the Mother City's tale. From Bushman heritage to Cape Malay heritage and then some.

Her artwork comes to live monthly with the incorporation of First Thursdays - where residents hold nothing back on their creativity and host exhibits all over her CBD.

Not to mention her annual glam sesh where all of her top creatives come forth to display their gifts at the Design Indaba. At the conference, you'll get to experience lots of incredible pieces of visual art decorating the venue as well as live performances and hear some of the world's finest modern day artists come together to showcase what they do and share their advice.

You can get an inside look at just some of the Mother City’s art scene below: 

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