Graffiti sprayers and street artists are active in nearly all African big cities. Some of the major graffiti centers are located in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya or Lagos. The scene became part of youth movements and has become a prominent voice of the public dialogue. The artists want to protest, criticize, alert to problems and even more. They want to change the world, make it better and more colorful. They are convinced that a graffiti says more than thousand words of a politician.
We start the series in South Africa where the scene is more exciting, exotic and diverse than anywhere else. The graffiti scene is still young in Africa’s South. However, it is growing rapidly. Graffiti started after the abolition of Apartheid. Previously, it was regarded as a political crime. It wasn’t until the late ‘80s with the success of the New York graffiti scene that some teenagers in Cape Town came across a graffiti video that changed their lives for ever. They became the graffiti artists that influenced the South African streetart scene as some of them moved to Johannesburg. Today, they are still writing as a new generation of graffiti artists paint their names. The ambition of the South African graffiti artists and their colleagues from other countries and continents is to change the walls in big cities and townships. The street art began with Freddy Sam. His motto is Hope and Dream!
One of the prominent members of the local scene is Falko, who paints all kinds of elephants. If a house, a wall in the street or a hut is emblazoned with a colorful elephant or with multiple gentle proboscideans, then Falko was there.
Falko paints the walls of dilapidated shacks in townships with elephants in green, red, blue or multicolor.Thus he hopes to change peoples` thinking and emotions to positive. Falko is convinced that bright colors can change the ugliest hut to a better home.
Why does Falko of all things paint elephants? In Africa the proboscideans are a symbol of good luck. They are the key to positive thinking. A whole series of cabins belong to Falko`s project “Once Upon a Town”. Falko says: “If you paint on the wall, a cabin is more than just a cabin. It is a cottage with art and thus part of a large open-air gallery. It changes the perception of the inhabitants and visitors.” The photographer Luke Daniel made pictures of Falko`s various elephant images. The photos traveled around the globe and show an Africa that is rich in ideas how to make the world better.
Falko belongs to the South African graffiti scene since the 1980s. He became one of the “founding members” of the graffiti scene with his first wall painting of the Mitchell Plain High School.
The series about African street art will be continued.