When visiting Heerlen recently, I saw a mural by Faith XLVII for the first time in real life. The work appealed to me as it was there in its serenity but still showed so much emotion. Faith XLVII is an artist from South Africa, based in Los Angeles. Not only her murals are impressive, but she also makes studio work – from paintings to deconstruction but also art performances, light installations and much more. On the occasion of the work she made for Artrium, I have the chance to interview her.
Hi Faith XLVII, your career as an artist started years ago and you have developed yourself in several artistic expressions. How did your career start?
My roots are in traditional graffiti, I was schooled by Wealz130 in Cape Town and never fathomed that the trajectory that would put me on, would lead me to not only discover the world but my self as well.
What is the difference for you within those different artistic expressions when it comes to expression or sending out a message?
I embrace the fact that I am a multi-faceted human being, that I am not a machine or a ‘product’ which is how I think much of the artwork operates. I insist on my own artistic freedom to explore mediums and substrates and not to be boxed into genres. The thread that links my work together is my own self, my intention, and the thought and energetic aesthetic that I feel is coherent throughout all the work if you are tuned in.
When creating these large scale pieces do you have a speciﬁc aim for how you want the public to perceive your message? Do you want passersby to feel a certain way about your work/message?
I would like to inspire emotional inner shifts in the viewer. Hinting at doors that one could open in oneself without being overly prescriptive on where those might lead.
The context that is solid throughout is our connection to nature, the nurturing of empathy, the balance of feminine energy in society and in ourselves. As well as human rights and spiritual self-development.
Personal as political.
Inner reflection of exterior world.
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Your works have powerful titles like WITHIN ME YOU AWOKE THE LONG FORGOTTEN, The progress of the truth of men and Unearth. What do the titles of your works mean to you?
I love writing, and I like to use words to evoke alternative interpretations of work alongside the imagery. I often use Latin which is layered in meaning but one would need to put some effort in to know what it means. I embrace the element of mystery.
The 7.83hz series is titled based on the years of wars from the beginning of recorded history. This series is primarily based on human connection, empathy and touch. So when you dig deeper, the titles imply the complexity and polarity of human potential.
You participated in the Artrium mural project in Moscow, how was that experience?
Moscow was an incredible experience for me, I love to travel to places that are completely foreign to me, that I have no real context for. I was absolutely in love with this deep history and depth of culture that is Russia. A country that the media talks about with much-clouded information. I plan to explore this region of the planet more extensively in my lifetime.
Can you tell us a little more about your mural for the project?
This mural celebrates the feminine, the connection we have to the universal influences such as the push and pull of the lunar phases. Putting this kind of iconography in the public sphere is about representing the female image as a powerful independent figure especially in societies that Are primarily machositic in structure.
What’s next for you?
We are currently in production for CHANT.
A large multidisciplinary Solo Exhibition in South Africa. Which is meaningful for me as it is home soil.
As well as projects in Hong Kong, Paris and some murals planned for 2019 in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, France and South Africa.
We are looking forward to Faith XLVII’s exhibition and new murals, thank you for the interview!