By Ramotswedi Rammutla, 14 May 2021
Mahikeng: The Sekame Road Mural Festival which began on April 26 was set to continue until the end of May with the aim of introducing art in public spaces around the Capital City of the North West. The project presented by Seabe Communication Group is a first of its kind in Mahikeng. Murals are a common feature in many of the country’s provincial and national capitals; these are often seen on walls, buildings, bridges and open spaces where artists paint and boom images as living exhibitions. The buzz has finally hit Mahikeng with artists steadily bringing their images to life along the Sekame Road (Lowe and Old Parliament building wall, opposite Montshioa Library). The festival is open to all, and the organisers have extended the call to any artists or individuals who are interested in being part of the project.
“We saw a need for art to be taken to the people, that’s why we launched the mural festival and opened the platform to all artists from the Mahikeng area. The first artists to take part in the festival are Thato SBKS and G Tang, who had started on the eastern part of the wall on April 26. The festival aims to feature 18 artists who work with different mediums as well as school going children who will also be given an opportunity to put up images on the wall” says Odirile Majatladi: Director of Seabe Communication Group.
The project is funded by the National Arts Council and aims to expose local artists to the international market by promoting their work through other international platforms.
Abstract expressionist Katlego Peete “Khatanga” from Dihatshwane village in Mahikeng is one of the artists who are part of the mural festival. “The lack of inspiration in my early days as an artist had at some point killed my love for art. I started sketching in primary school and I stopped when I reached Grade 7 because there was no inspiration or motivation to do this, as there were no notable or influential artists or work around where I lived to look up to. Thus I feel this project is important because I want to be one of those guys that can be a motivation to young people to take up art as a career and source of income” says Khatanga.
Khatanga calls his art “cosmic art” he infuses the cosmos into his images as a way of expression. He views his work as a spiritual quest to educate and elevate the spirits of africans through art. He wants to use his art to heal people. “I am attracted to beauty in nature, I am a spiritual person and I believe this to be a calling of sorts. I don’t conform to anything specific; my spirituality gives me inspiration to push the inner man and the souls before the human being, which I believe is the energy that exists in all of us. Thus I do cosmic art to express African greatness. We are more than what we think we are. I look up to pure expression, thus I try to bring through all my paintings and sketches” added Khatanga.
Though he had not finished his part of the mural at the time of going to print, he had put down his concept that he hopes will inspire those walking or driving past. Many other artists had just joined the festival and started adding their images to the wall. The organisers had also invited local businesses and organisations to sponsor some of the murals and also advertise their businesses by using the artists who are currently working on the wall to bring their ideas to life.
“The festival will be launched when all the artists have finished with their murals, and having local community members come paint next to the artists. The closing event will be called “Colour in Mahikeng” and will have creatives from different mediums showcase their work; whether it will be chefs, clothing designers and obviously artists. The opening ceremony will run from 10:00 to 18:00 at the end of the month” concluded Majatladi.