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troublemag | September 20, 2021

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Interview: Faith47

Interview: Faith47


Faith47 is an internationally acclaimed visual artist from South Africa, whose work has been lauded for its ability to resonate with people around the world. She has held solo exhibitions in New York, London and Johannesburg, and her art appears on walls from Shanghai to Cape Town. Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth. In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search. Channelling the international destinations that have been imprinted on her after two decades of interacting with urban environments as one of the planet’s most renowned and prolific muralists, she continues to examine our place in the world.


Artist: Faith47 Photo Henrik Haven
Location Ostend, Belgium


What was behind your original inspiration to create art on the streets?

This is something that happened organically for me. I was introduced to the graffiti scene as a teenager in 1997 and my work evolved from there. I didn’t study in the traditional manner – all of my education has been through practical experience and my own independent investigation. One could say that the physical process of my life has been paralleled and reflected in my journey as an artist, with all its flaws and triumphs.

Much of your work appears to be very considered in its placement. How important is location and context to you?

The context of the environment is vital, as the work needs to communicate and co-create a story with the existing history of a place. I don’t want to make works that ‘take over’ an area, but rather are a part of the fabric of that space, perhaps summoning unseen spirits that might otherwise remain hidden.

Do you feel that coming from South Africa has influenced your work in a particular way?

You can see this influence more directly in my earlier work, whereas my later work speaks in terms that are more applicable to the human condition as a whole, as opposed to one specific region or society. I have become increasingly introspective and consequently my work has become somewhat existential in nature.

Do you approach your gallery work in a different way from murals?

My current 7.83Hz series is manifesting itself through various substrates, from cyanotypes, screen prints, video installations, murals and photography as well as a series of works in abandoned spaces. I’m interested in how an idea can translate within different mediums, creating a wider and more explorative investigation over time.


Artist: Faith47 Photo: Makhulu (@makhulu_) Location: Cape Town, South Africa


What’s your opinion on the current street art scene, and particularly the proliferation of ‘legal’ walls and street art festivals around the world?

I feel it’s quite oversaturated and has lost much of its soul. The impact of social media and commercial popularity has created a situation where work is made for very fast interpretation, and it is rare to find artists that are putting real time and effort into a critical investigation behind what they are doing.

Although there will always be a certain labelling of genres and movements, I feel on a personal level that it is vital that artists act independently and make work that is not only for popular consumption, but also satisfies the very real need for the investigation of existence.

What is your favourite place that you’ve painted in your career and where would you most like to paint?

I am at my most content when painting in abandoned buildings.


Photo by Katie Zapatka


Artist’s Site –
All images reproduced with permission from Street Art, © 2017 Lonely Planet –
Reproduced with permission from Street Art, © 2017 Lonely Planet
Published April 2017 / 224pp, full colour, H200mm x W200mm, hardcover RRP: AUD $29.99 / NZD $35