‘Beyond Walls’ in Cape Town

Saype, Beyond Walls, Cape Town

An aerial view shows a giant land-art fresco by Swiss artist Saype, painted for the 9th step of his worldwide “Beyond Walls” project in Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa 2021. Valentin Flauraud for Saype/via REUTERS 

“Beyond Walls” symbolises the breaking down of political and social barriers among communities in the hope of encouraging positive dialogue.

In 2019, artist Saype embarked on this global project to symbolically depict the largest human chain in the world. It was envisioned to take several years, passing through more than 30 cities on a mission to invite people to help each other, show kindness and live tolerantly together.

This famous land artist chose Cape Town to host the ninth stage of his global project because he believes Cape Town represents a place where intolerance was overcome and a commitment to unity was made when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990.
“South Africa is an integral part of the project because of its apartheid history. My work symbolises the breaking down of political and social barriers between communities.” 

Guillaume Legros is a French-Swiss artist who works under the alias Saype (a contraction of Say Peace). He creates monumental frescoes on grass (sometimes on the ground) and this innovative technique earned him a 2019 nomination in Forbes magazine, as one of the 30 most influential artists under the age of 30.  

He invented an eco-responsible paint composed mainly of chalk and charcoal with which he creates his artworks in a way that doesn’t damage the environment. 

His poetic, ephemeral works appear all over the world with the aim of impacting on the public’s consciousness and awareness of current issues while showing a deep respect for nature.
He is also the pioneer of an artistic movement which bridges street art and land art.

Inspired by the Arab Spring in 2012, Saype began to ask questions about the meaning of existence and to wonder about the place of various social groupings in society.

It’s a global initiative with different chapters around the world. Launched at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in June 2019 by Anne Hildago, the mayor of Paris, it’s been seen by 500-million people around the world. 
Previously the hands were depicted in Paris, Andorre, Genève, Berlin, Ouagadougou, Yamoussoukro, Turin and Istanbul. Cape Town represents the ninth stage. The next are Benin and Belfast. 

In Cape Town, the hands intertwine beyond inequality in three different areas of the city. The first is on the Sea Point promenade, then in Philippi Village and in Langa. Given the rich history of South Africa and its people, the message of this project sparks hope, humanity, and respect.

The project is in collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, the City of Cape Town, The International Public Art Festival (IPAF) – one of Africa’s largest and most anticipated public arts festivals, and Baz-Art.

Baz-Art co-founder Alexandre Tilmans says, “Cape Town is an ideal flagship destination for this project. As a city that prioritises openness, peace and mutual respect, we need to keep having courageous conversations, especially in this harsh climate created by the pandemic. Artworks like this spark important dialogues of hope for all citizens.”

Nicolas Brühl, Ambassador of Switzerland in South Africa, said: “In these challenging times with the pandemic, we believe that art plays an essential role in expressing hope, in uniting countries and people, and in advancing human dignity.”

“Through the artwork of Beyond Walls, the collaborateurs fully endorse the message of solidarity, dialogue and friendship conveyed to South Africa and the world by Saype.”

Acknowledgement: Andrea Nagel /Times LIVE




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