Faith47: White Girl in the Streets

An understanding of social politics, a strong moral code, tenacity and talent are important attributes
that substantiate all successful street artists. Faith47 is no exception to these characteristics; however,
she is dissimilar from her peers. She is a white female writing on the walls of South Africa, and part of an
art culture that is largely dominated by men. Her unique position in this sector of the art world is interesting enough, but her paintings are even more enamoring.

fai1Like many street artists who practice under a tag name, Faith47’s real name is not commonly known. But she has been using the tag since she was 19 years old. Growing up In Johannesburg, SA, Faith47 was exposed to some racial and social struggles that she couldn’t ignore. Her art serves as a platform for her to express the criticisms of the negative and positive inspirations she has encountered throughout life.

In an interview with the art blog, CIMAmag, Faith47 confessed, "I felt shame for the color of my skin. In retrospect, I know that is not a healthy reaction, but I think this country can twist you up like that." Her early realization of the racial and class inequalities in South Africa and moral compass led her express herself through graffiti and challenge her viewers to see what she sees. In the same interview she asserts that globally, societies are lost and have a loss of traditional culture. As someone who is confident in her keen sight of the world, it seems Faith47 has a lot to say about the current apathetic state of global society, and she wants to be heard. Her painting titled, "The immense gap between past and future" was painted in Vienna, Austria in 2013.

fai3The painting itself is of a young woman with her hands covering her eyes. Metaphorically, I think the woman represents Faith47's opportunity to close her eyes to the injustices she recognized while living in a post-apartheid South Africa. After becoming an international success, Faith47 traveled the world marking her territory. Her work is in several places throughout Europe, in America, Australia and South Africa when she had the opportunity of participating in projects that contributed to building community. Faith47 is a lover of the art she creates, but what struck me was her love for people. The entire reason she shares her talent is for others.

In February 2014, the artist teamed up with the #anotherlightup project to bring lights and aesthetics to the slums of Cape Town. By implementing light in her mural and helping raise money for lights, they made a safer city by illuminating public water sources and toilets the community needs to use at all hours of the day. Her mural is meant to be a symbol of optimism for the community’s future. While a master of many mediums, Faith47 considers herself a painter. She implements many types of paint in her murals, and even dilutes paint to cause a dripping effect. Her graffiti is realistically striking,yet unfinished and abstract.

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Many of her murals are of people and animals of the earth, perhaps beings she has come across who brought her significance. Some of her more recent projects relate to metaphysical ideologies; however she uses paint dripping to create a heaviness that somehow brings her figures back down to earth. A large amount of her work is posted on her website. Faith47 uses the Internet as a form of public space that has no boundaries, unlike the walls that encapsulate her art.

In a video from the Ginkgo Agency, Faith47 shared, “Public space should be used for the public to engage with each other in. And if you look at it globally, the street art scene is huge. There's a lot of
really high-quality work being done. It's really like a new art movement. I think in about 20 to 30 years people will be reading about it in the art history textbooks.” In regards to the temporary nature of her paintings, she states, “I really like the idea that there something so fragile about it. I feel like it's a lot like life, you can't hold onto things.” Faith47 is an amazing representative who is not only talented in the real of art, but also a social ambassador who is well-versed in many of the social issues that surround race and gender inequalities, government corruption and social passivity.

-Devon Cotta