“Our lives and our actions are destined to become traces of our passage in this world, it is ours to know what to do with.” – Saype
Guillaume Legros, the world’s most famous land artist, believes Cape Town represents a place where intolerance was overcome and a commitment to unity was made when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. Therefore it is the ideal venue for the ninth stage of his global project, titled “Beyond Walls”.
South Africa is an essential chapter of the Beyond Walls project due to its apartheid history. Legros’s work symbolises the breaking down of political and social barriers among communities, with the hope to further encourage positive dialogue.
The first Beyond Walls installation was unveiled on the Sea Point Promenade opposite 237 Beach Road on Monday 25 January. It is a precursor to one of Africa’s largest and most anticipated public-arts festivals, the International Public Art Festival (IPAF); a Baz-Art initiative which runs from 10-14 February. The project is supported by Présence Suisse and the City of Cape Town.
In 2019, Saype embarked on the Beyond Walls project to symbolically depict the largest human chain in the world. The project was envisioned to take several years, passing through more than 30 cities on a mission to invite people to help each other, show kindness and live tolerantly together.
The project was launched in June 2019 at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on the Champ de Mars in France, which was closed to the public for two weeks for the event for the first time in history. When completed, the large-scale artwork was inaugurated by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and was seen by 500-million people around the world.
Guillaume Legros is a French-Swiss artist who creates monumental frescoes on grass (sometimes on the ground) and works under the alias Saype (a contraction of Say Peace).
His approach and his innovative technique earned him a 2019 nomination in Forbes Magazine as one of the 30 most influential artists under the age of 30. His poetic, ephemeral works appear all over the world, with the aim of impacting on the public’s consciousness and awareness of current issues while showing a deep respect for nature.
Inspired by the Arab spring in 2012, when he was working as a nurse, Saype began to ask questions about the meaning of existence and to wonder about the place of various social groupings in society.
The easy availability of drones gave him access to aerial views and so he began planning large-scale works on grass. His works have adorned famous sites all over the world.
Cape Town will be joining major cities such as Paris, Berlin and Istanbul as locations for this artwork. Other African cities already painted include Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and Yamoussoukro in Cote d’Ivoire.
The project is carried out in collaboration with Saype, the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, the City of Cape Town, the IPAF and Baz-Art.
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