A movement that has spanned a decade, crossing borders and boundaries and settling into the very fabric of the cities it has touched, PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans movement arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, with a vibrant display. From 3 to 11 November 2023, both international and local artists curated an exhibition that escaped traditional confines and sprawled among the bustling streets of the Mother City in the form of 18 murals dedicated to the ocean.
In light of the ongoing issues faced by the marine world, and by extension all the creatures and communities that rely on it, employing an alternative vehicle of education can be a powerful tool for change. By removing traditional barriers to understanding, it helps people to connect on an emotional level with the plight of oceans resulting from human activities. Visual storytelling can humanise complex issues that feel separate from our own lives, helping to rally a change in perception. This can be a formidable catalyst, as we are more likely to care about things that we feel connected to. When swathes of vibrant colour cloak the muted tones of city buildings, the imagination is ignited and change, however small, is set in motion.
Sea Walls South Africa, presented by the Save Our Seas Foundation, raises awareness about threats to the world’s oceans and engages local communities through an undiluted, unconfined means of educational outreach. Public art of this scale, where stories born from the minds of each artist can be brought to life under a unifying banner of ocean stewardship, is a powerful rendition of unity of purpose. This movement meets the communities at the interface of art and daily ritual as residents move through their city. The presence of these towering artworks serves to remind us what the marine world means to us.
The Save Our Seas Foundation was the proud headline sponsor of Sea Walls: South Africa 2023, offering the financial means to see the magic of this movement come alive in Cape Town. It also sponsored two individual walls, one in Sea Point, painted by artist Dulk (Valencia, Spain), and the second in Gardens, created by South African artist Sonny Behan. Having been a patron of a mural at the Santa Cruz Sea Walls festival, the foundation was honoured to have been approached by the PangeaSeed team to be part of this year’s Sea Walls South Africa event. As this falls within the year of its 20th anniversary, it chose to celebrate this shared dedication to our oceans by being the primary sponsor of the event.
Although it is undoubtedly the murals around the city that will continue to serve as beacons of joy and inspiration, it is the people who fashioned these artworks who carry their own light forward, from the unassuming yet deeply moving grace of the artists, all of whom share a common thread of service for a purpose, to the team of organisers and magic-makers whose genuine passion seems to be drawn from a communal limitless source. The Save Our Seas Foundation is delighted to have been part of this event, witnessing the unshakable dedication of environmental stewards, artists, ocean-goers and thought leaders. We look forward to the next Sea Walls event!