South African artist, Wesley van Eeden was invited by Doctor Jason Tougaw at Queens College in New York to partake in the college’s “Year of South Africa” programme. He was commissioned to create a mural that reflects contemporary South African culture.
The painting was inspired in part by “the taxi dance” and also by the words “mission possible” that Wesley saw on the back of a mini bus taxi back home. These words resonated with him as he says while South Africa right now is facing many problems such as crime, poverty, corruption and unemployment, there is always hope. The painting also includes the country’s national flower – the Protea, which acts as a metaphor for unity while the other various African floral patterns represent changing seasons.
Showing off vivid colours and inspiring text, the painting came together with help and support from art students and faculty members. Art student Robine, suggested they include a quote into the painting from South African artist Peter Clarke’s short story ‘The Changing of the Season’, which reads, “Instead of worrying who’s got what blood in them, we should just get on with living our lives and doing what we got to do”.
Despite the turbulence caused by social and economic issues in the country, Wesley’s painting depicts joy and determination – the qualities he believes are necessary to bring about the kind of changes he wants to see in the country.
Wesley also has limited edition prints of the artwork available for purchase. Each is signed and numbered and comes with a mixing stick that was used for the production of the painting.