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Mural in Khayelitsha . 2005

Together with Uta Goebel-Groß, Thulani Shuku and Dathini Mzayiya, Michaela Frank is working on a mural in Khayelitsha, to be created at Training Centre on Spine Road in Khayelitsha. This training center is located on a busy road, on the way to two schools, a restaurant is nearby…. so a good place to present a picture on partnership and thoughts on the diversity of worlds.

I am quite happy how easily the group, which has known each other for a long time, welcomes me. The swap technique lets everyone work on all the drafts: one says ‘swap’ and everyone moves to the next picture…. The pictures feature the Aachen Cathedral, the Zuelpicher Matrons, people, shacks, abstract patterns and figures. It is a lot of fun and exhausting – because we give everything. There are no language problems: Art is our common language!

The enthusiasm with which I collaborate on the large mural should not obscure the fact that the implementation was extremely difficult. There is the generation conflict: the two South African artists are 20 years younger than we are. And, in addition, there are cultural and gender-specific backgrounds. I want the old, black woman to hold a snake as a staff in her hand, because I associate power, strength and transformation with it. For the young men, however, the snake has a dark, magical meaning and signals deviousness – thus it is taboo for the mural. On the other hand, I am having wonderful experiences working as a team and finding solutions. The really beautiful mural was inaugurated in an official way, radio, newspaper and TV were there and reported. The reactions to our work were consistently positive and I quickly forgot the effort that went into creating this 26-meter-long and 3.2-meter-high house wall under incredible time pressure!

Michaela Frank

In the framework of the LA-21-partnership-projects in 2005/06 Michaela Frank worked one year in Cape Town in various contexts: as an art therapist in an orphans’ home, later in a hospice. And she took part in painting a mural in Khayelitsha.