Worse than heroin
WORLDART is pleased to host an exhibition of paintings by a group of local graffiti artists considered by their peers and curator Warren Maroon as some of the most active and respected in their field at present.
The exhibition is titled Worse than heroin, a reference to the fact that a lot of attention goes into covering up graffiti in Cape Town as opposed to dealing with issues such as drug use and crime. Due to the nature of graffiti many of these artists explore the city and its abandoned locations in order to practice their art. This exploration provides them with a ‘behind the curtains’ look at some of the problems that are not being effectively managed by our city. This, together with the unyielding cleaning and removing of graffiti, could be interpreted as the city treating the ‘Broken Window’ theory i.e. clean the facade and the problem will go away. Cape Town and South Africa at large has seen a significant increase in drug use, specifically relating to heroin, in the recent years. “The problem is exacerbated by poor policing, absence of crime intelligence, and the failure of the state to provide adequate social care or education and health services.” (Studies, 2019)
In addition, graffiti artists in Cape Town face fines of up to R50 000 or six months imprisonment when caught painting on walls without the city’s approval – numbers that seem rather excessive when comparing it with the consequences of drug abuse in public spaces.
Graffiti artists are increasingly being recognised in the visual arts with their work now regularly featuring in auctions and museum shows in major international cities.
Local artists like Nardstar*, Bush, Slegh and Conform have become recognisable brands with a loyal following. They have participated in group exhibitions and public art festivals in South Africa and abroad and are often contracted by the corporate world to communicate with younger audiences.
Other participating artists include 2KILER, Anoy, Caso, Dino, Mors, Smet, Reks and Zombie.