The extraordinary phenomenon of Retail Art
Street artists “graffiti” an entire parking garage of a new luxury sea point shopping centre
In what is a first for a Cape Town retail centre, street art is being incorporated as a dominant feature in the ARTEM galleria in Sea Point, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations – with completion expected in February 2018.
The entire parking area for the ultra-luxurious centre, which is situated on Sea Point’s Main Road, will become a giant canvas, featuring the edgy designs of a young group of street artists from Pretoria who have been commissioned to turn the blank walls into an urban gallery.
Lethlogonolo Mathabe, Sam Shaba, Tebogo Qhingana and Patrick Rulore are four of the members of this dynamic street art crew, working under the leadership of the group founder Khutjo Tsebe. They have named their group “Visualiz Khorr” and explain that before this project came along, they had been working hard at finding ways in which to collaborate as individual artists on a shared project.
“Eugenia Chapman Campbell called us and told us to come to Cape Town. We had never been on a plane before let alone in Cape Town – so we could hardly believe it until we boarded our flights.”
Ultra-luxurious meets street art
The new ARTEM galleria, which was formerly the Adelphi Centre, will house a prestigious curated Art Gallery – entitled ARTEM Gallery – when completed. Eugenia Chapman Campbell, the curator of the new gallery, spotted the work of Visualiz Khorr on social media and approached them about using the walls of the ARTEM parking garage as a showcase for their work.
“It was an amazing experience. We posted some of our portfolio work on Facebook and it was picked up by Eugenia Chapman Campbell who called us and told us to come to Cape Town. We had never been on a plane before let alone in Cape Town – so we could hardly believe it until we boarded our flights,” says Visualiz Khorr founder, Khutjo Tsebe.
The idea of edgy street art combining with an ultra-luxurious retail experience may seem to be a strange relationship at first, but Ahsan Darvesh, President of Da’Realty who own ARTEM, explains that art and visual beauty will be woven into the entire centre once complete, with art pieces being exhibited throughout the building in the public spaces and that the idea is to also help promote the work of emerging artists in this beautiful new galleria.
Showcasing up-and-coming artists
Ahsan, who is passionate about art in all its forms, says that whilst street art as a movement in Africa is in its infancy compared to many overseas cities, it is definitely something to watch. Ahsan explains that he feels strongly about nurturing this group of young up-and-coming artists who have chosen street art as their artistic spring board based on their circumstances and means.
“Street art is a means of artistic expression that brings vibrancy, colour and meaning into drab and dull concrete city landscapes. With a variety of themes and ideas, from social and political awareness to plain visual poetry, this art form continues to gain momentum and we are extremely pleased to have Visualiz Khorr transforming the walls of ARTEM’s parking area.”
The completed ARTEM centre will feature black and white marble throughout, beautiful Italian lighting, hand crafted brass balustrades, a lobby entrance with a door man, a hand-crafted gold mosaic logo and valet parking – just a few examples of what can be expected from this exciting new galleria. A combination of soft awnings and black metal awnings running along the entire ARTEM street front will transform the strip into a blend of Rodeo Drive meets the Champs Elysees – in the heart of Cape Town.
“Da’Realty is hosting Visualiz Khorr in Cape Town while they complete the work on the ARTEM parking area and we are excited to see the end product. ARTEM, once complete, will offer the public an upmarket and exciting artistic retail experience,” concludes Ahsan.
Da’Realty established its presence in the Western Cape three years ago and is developing luxurious bespoke buildings which offer living and retail spaces that are works of art.
The company’s goal is to create properties which redefine the concept of opulent limited edition living in South Africa. Da’Realty will never develop more than one building within a given suburb or area of the Western Cape and twill only roll out projects as and when the right properties present themselves.
Current properties under development by Da’Realty include Aurum, previously the Ambassador Hotel; Azalea, luxury residential hanging garden villas in Clifton; and Artem, previously the Adelphi Centre in Sea Point.
Visualiz Khorr started when founder Khutjo Tsebe decided to form a collective of “like-minded” individuals who could collaborate to add value to each other and the greater art community.
“There is an African proverb that says ‘If you want to run, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’,” says Tsebe. “It was with this in mind that I decided to form an art collective with common goals and united in our passion for art.”
What does the future hold?
Visualiz Khorr are not just a group of visual artists, amongst them they possess a range of talents touching on music, fashion, photography, film-making, poetry and so much more. The group plans to ultimately represent all genres and be a home for all to create.