Baz-Art, a trailblazing non-profit organization established in 2016, proudly announces the 8th edition of the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) set to transform the streets of Cape Town into a vibrant canvas of public art and community engagement. Melissa Cucci, co-founder & Creative Director at Baz-Art and co-founder of IPAF, spearheads this initiative with a vision to revolutionize placemaking through art.
“As we unveil the 8th International Public Art Festival, we are reminded that art is not just a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it. At Baz-Art, we harness this transformative power of art to redefine spaces, to give voice to stories untold, and to foster a sense of community. Our mission is to turn every wall, every street, every corner into a conversation, into an opportunity for change. Here in Cape Town, we’re not just creating art, we’re crafting the future, one brushstroke at a time,” says Cucci.
Placemaking as a Pathway to Safety
Placemaking is an innovative approach to transforming public spaces into vibrant community hubs through the power of art. Annually, IPAF curates a series of public art projects that not only beautify spaces but also stimulate social interaction, enhances urban safety, economic development, and cultural exchange. This year, the festival begins with activations in The Company’s Garden and unfolds throughout Cape Town’s CBD, inviting the public to immerse themselves in a realm where art meets urban living.
“Placemaking is synonymous with safemaking,” Cucci explains. “By enlivening neglected areas, we’re taking pride in our spaces and making them welcoming for everyone.” Placemaking through public art is posited as a beacon of change, potentially marking the beginning of an era where creativity and community collaboration can transform a space and make it more accessible, secure and engaging.”
One such example exists in the heart of Gugulethu, the iThemba Walkway which stands as a testament to what can be achieved when communities come together to reclaim and revitalise their spaces through placemaking. “The iThemba Walkway embodies our collective resolve to transform underutilised spaces into hubs of community and safety. I’ve seen first-hand how spaces can be re-envisioned to foster connection and dialogue—crucial principles that align with the mission of Baz-Art. The walkway is a symbol of what public space should be: a democratic platform that invites diverse voices and encourages dynamic, collaborative growth. Through IPAF, we extend this philosophy, showcasing how public art catalyses not just aesthetic enhancement but also communal well-being and integration,” says Roshana Naidoo, Director & Community Facilitator at Baz-Art.
Impact on Community Safety and Urban Comfort
Baz-Art’s innovative approach to placemaking contributes significantly to the safety and comfort of urban spaces.Over the years, Baz-Art has made a significant impact on communities by fostering job creation, stimulating tourism, and celebrating heritage. Through these initiatives, Baz-Art has demonstrated that public art and placemaking are potent tools for community development and social change.
The art festival’s journey reflects a narrative of transformation and empowerment. From its inception, IPAF has been a platform for street artists to showcase their talents and for communities to engage with art in a way that is both accessible and impactful. This retrospective view underscores the festival’s role in shaping the narrative of public art and placemaking in Africa.
Marina Capdevila, internationally acclaimed Spanish artist participating in IPAF 2024 says that through her art, she not only seeks to reflect on life’s depth but also to illuminate and secure the spaces we share. Capdevila is known for her playful portraits of the elderly in candid nostalgic moments which brightens streets and ignites conversation. “In bringing the wisdom and warmth of our elders into public view, we cast a light that deters the shadows of uncertainty and fear. The vibrant exaggerations in my works are more than artistic expressions; they are the guardians of our communal areas, inviting viewers to engage not just with the art but with each other in a safer, more connected environment. At IPAF 2024, my aim is to demonstrate how art can transform public spaces into creative havens, where negative stereotypes are dismantled, and every generation can walk with a sense of belonging,” says Capdevila.
The Vision of Baz-Art and IPAF
Baz-Art envisions a future where public and urban art are recognised for their potential to create a more conscious and aware society. The organization believes in the power of art as a storytelling tool, transcending boundaries and sparking dialogues that question and reshape our perception of the world.
The Festival’s Goal: Public Placemaking and Groundbreaking Artworks
IPAF 2024 is set to create public placemaking and groundbreaking public artworks that contribute not only to the aesthetic landscape but also to economic development. This year’s theme, “CoACT | CoLLAB,” focuses on creative collaboration across various disciplines, sectors, and cultures.
Innovative Partnerships and Collaborations
Under the guidance of Baz-Art’s creative director and curator, Melissa Cucci, artists will be partnered with key experts from diverse fields to create large-scale public art projects. These collaborations aim to strengthen ties between sectors and countries, fostering advancements in Africa’s creative economy.
The Future of Urban Spaces with IPAF
Looking ahead, IPAF continues to contribute to the placemaking movement, working hand in hand with the City of Cape Town in steering the city towards a future where public art plays a critical role in urban safety. “Our goal is to ensure that each project not only tells a story but also contributes to the well-being of its audience,” Cucci states. This is the essence of IPAF’s mission: to create art that resonates with the soul of the city and safeguards its heart.
A Call to Engage and Explore
IPAF 2024 invites the public to engage with artists, explore the city’s creativity, and experience new and thought-provoking public art. This festival is more than an event; it’s a movement, a conversation, and a celebration of the transformative power of art in our communities.
Discover the vibrant streets of Cape Town with a guided tour of the International Public Arts Festival (IPAF), from February 14th to 18th, 2024 at The Company’s Garden. Book your tour at via Quicket and witness the power of collaborative art with our diverse line-up of local and international artists!