An inspiring example of how the collective can be stronger than the individual, award-winning designer and Design Indaba speaker Morag Myerscough’s recent interventions with the Ilukuluku Art Collective have brought colour and joy to the communities they touch.
Myerscough demonstrates the power of adaptability and the change that can be brought about through creativity. Early in 2021, she partnered with the Ilukuluku Art Collective (an organization that collaborates with artists, architects and volunteers) to create a large-scale mural in Salt River as part of the 2021 International Public Art Festival (IPAF).
This year’s iteration of the annual IPAF (now in its fifth edition), organised by Baz-Art, is now responsible for over 100 murals in the historic suburb of Salt River in Cape Town. For the festival, the artist and a team of 60 people transformed a circa 1940’s leather factory situated in Douglas Street near the Salt River Circle. With special permission needed from the Heritage Council to paint it, the 21-metre mural on the side of the building took the team six full days to complete. The mural incorporates the bright, uplifting graphic designs that Myerscough is renowned for, and includes the phrase ‘ALL OF US’.
‘ALL OF US need to work together to make a change for ALL OF US,’ explains Myerscough of the concept behind the words.
This project was an extension of an ongoing collaboration between Myerscough and Ilukuluku, the first rollout of which saw the team transform a local school during level three lockdown. The project was born out of a meeting of minds at the Design Indaba 2018 conference when Myerscough formed part of the 2018 speaker lineup. At this event, Shaun Sebastian of Ilukuluku approached her with the idea of working on the ‘Temple of Curiosity’ for Afrikaburn 2020.
When the event was cancelled, Ilukuluku and Myerscough pivoted to find another way to execute the concept and the designs were adapted for a school. “Most of my work now is community-based, and given that our intention with the Afrikaburn project was always to repurpose elements of the installation (rather than burn them) by donating them to schools and venues where they would be of use, this step change just adjusted the focus of the project,” says Myerscough.
They identified the school with aid from Karen Stewart of Bright Sparks, an agency that works in the extra mural ECD space. The school is “one of the beneficiaries of our legacy project, where we work with local communities, artists and architects,” Sebastian explains. “The idea was to uplift the area and create visual impact - we wanted to wow the children when they came back to school for the first time after lockdown.”
The team of seven painted the entire front facade, four interior walls and the entrance. The project was supported by a donor from the UK, as well as Dulux, who sponsored the paint, which was custom-mixed to Myerscough’s unique design palette.
“It’s always a joy to see the children happy, and in awe of the colour and shapes,” Sebastian adds.
Listen to Myerscough’s 2018 Design Indaba talk on transforming spaces here.
Her installation on the Artscape Piazza for the 2018 Design Indaba Festival was also repurposed and donated to a school by the Design Indaba in collaboration with SeeSawDo.
It’s incredible to see this designer’s work having such a profound and uplifting impact on the South African creative landscape, leaving a Design Indaba legacy to be proud of…