Maboneng Precinct

Maboneng Precinct

Street Art in Johannesburg's "Place of Light"

Welcome to Maboneng 
The Maboneng Precinct is a creative, vibrant neighbourhood located on the East side of Johannesburg’s inner-city, in South Africa. Maboneng is a Sesotho word that means “place of light”. In a still economically fragmented and racially divided Johannesburg, Maboneng is an innovative urban environment that encourage diversity in terms of uses, races, income, ages. It is also now one of the most renowned creative districts in the world.

Arts on Main was the first building to be redeveloped in the Maboneng Precinct by the company Propertuity, in 2009. It is now a creative hub that hosts artist galleries, creative studios, residential loft units, retail spaces and a weekly food and design market.

The Maboneng Precinct now counts more than 15 mixed-use buildings redeveloped by Propertuity, and more than 50 street art pieces across the neighbourhood.

I ART JO’BURG introduced 5 of some of the world most renowned street artists to the heart of Maboneng : Steve Espo Powers, Roa, Falko, Remed and Cameron Platter. The project was documented by legendary street-photographer Martha Cooper.
Belgium street artist Roa is primarily known for his obsession for animals and rodents. He often combines life, death, and life after death in his murals, by using spray paint or acrylic paint, with a distinctive black and white style. 
Madrid artist Remed combines strikingly bold colours with strong lines and a raw-African inspired cubism. He collaborated actively to the development of "Remeds View" building, a students residency in the Maboneng Precinct. 
In South Africa, Falko is herald as a graffiti icon, not only for his style, but also for establishing graffiti as a credible visual art form, and for creating a platform for aspiring writers.  
Steve ESPO Powers
NY street-artist and Fulbright scholar Steve ESPO Powers is internationally renowned for his unique typographic style and statements. In Johannesburg, he chose to celebrate "Mama Afrika", and motivate the city and its residents to "Stay Up". 
Cameron Platter 
South African artist Cameron Platter fills the ordinary and marginal with incendiary new meaning. Working from everyday experience with subjects overlooked or considered delinquent, sordid and lowbrow, he sheds light on notions and concepts on the outside fringes of South Africa’s popular culture.
Freddy Sam
Freddy Sam is a South African artist aiming at exploring surrounding spaces and communities by using public art as a tool to communicate and connect with people. "I am Because We Are", parts 1 and 2, explore South African symbols as Nelson Mandela and the Springbok. 

¨The Springbok represents us as a nation and the river reflects ourselves and our community. Now that Mandela has passed, we are looking into our reflection and assessing our Ubuntu in the past, present and future¨, Freddy Sam.

Sonny is a British artist based in South Africa. His pieces are inspired by African patterns, modern representations, and fantasy. 
DALeast - "Creature"
Chinese-born artist DALeast explores movement and speed of African animals with this stunning installation on the Maverick Corner building. 
“The Gate” mural by Berlin-based artist Superblast is situated just under one of Johannesburg's highways, which reminds the artist of a “snake of concrete and cars that run through the city and gives it its heartbeat'.  The artwork is installed on the Maboneng Northern gateway. In mythology, gateways represent renaissance, renewal, and a transition to another life. The serpent symbolises the alterity, the fear of the unknown. For Superblast, “On a more local scale, the snake represents the struggle that the city and the country has gone through. In African mythology the serpent is also seen as the birth-giving creator of the world.  Hence this piece symbolizes the rebirth of the neighbourhood”.
"Now and Then", by Acrylic Walls
"Now and Then" is a collaboration piece on South African iconography and symbolism. Contributing artists are KNOW HOPE (Tel Aviv), Gaia (NY), Franco JAZ Fasoli (Buenos Aires), and Freddy Sam (SA).
Nelson Makamo
Nelson Makamo is a prolific South African artist, famous for his portraits, often using a mix of bright colours on a dark background. The street-lenght artwork on Van Beek Street, Maboneng, displays children going about their everyday life, captured by the artist in their movements and emotions. 
Acrylic Walls Collective - "Jan Van Riebeeck"
NY street artist Gaia and South African artist Freddy Sam co-created this portait of Dutch colonial Jan Van Riebeeck, the founder of Cape Town. The pattern work inspired by both nature and technology is an interesting reference to the country's past and modernity. 
Interesni Kazki 
"Protective Magic" by Ukrainian duo Interesni Kazki is a symbolist interpretation of the city and people of Johannesburg. 
Artist, photographer and film director Ralph Ziman explores the duality of terror and worship that firearms hold in African culture. The mural, based on Ziman's photographs of vendors posing with their crafted prop AK 47, aims at bringing awareness on the international arms trade that profits on the suffering and oppression of millions of Africans.
Shepard Fairey
"OBEY" is one of the most renowned installations by world-renowned street-artist Shepard Fairey.
"Good Luck" is an artwork by South African artist Faith 47.
Hannelie Coetzee
South-African artist and Maboneng-based Hannelie Coetzee used fine mosaic to portrait "Ouma Miemie and Tant Vya",  who are the artist's aunt and grandmother. The art piece is based on a photograph of these ladies taken in the 1940s on the same street of the artwork (Commissioner Street). 
Kevin Love
Kevin Love painted the mural "Love Ain't Nobody's Bitch" just above an open air canal in the heart of Maboneng.
Fred Clarke
"The Love of Ra", located inside Aerial Empire building, refers to the Egyptian god Ra. "The Love of Ra is Infinite". 
Street Art 
Community Chalkboard on Fox Street, Maboneng. 
Remote Words 
The "Remote Words" installation was curated in 2009 by Indra Wussow, in a collaboration with Niq Mhlongo. It  gave the Maboneng Precinct its name.

Street Art constantly changes the face of the Maboneng Precinct. Come visit us and discover the latest street masterpieces of the area.

GRIND - Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg
Credits: Story

Pictures :
Martha Cooper (I Art Joburg)
Bram Lammers
Roger Jardine
Alice Cabaret

Exhibition curator :
Alice Cabaret

For more information :

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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