Street artist Meiri gives joy to Pretoria walls

  • Rami
Driving along Church Street in the Pretoria CBD, one may for a moment think that you are in Tel Aviv. Two buildings were this past week transformed by Israel’s finest street artist, Rami Meiri, and his bold signature in Hebrew stands out.
by DIANE WOLFSON | Jul 08, 2015

PRETORIA

From the early ‘90s to the present day, lively murals have been popping up around the world, to a large degree thanks to Meiri; give him a blank concrete wall and mischievous murals become colourful depictions which interact with their environment.

“I’m an urban artist. My language is visual,” Meiri self-describes his talent for creating evocative, larger-than-life murals. 

His bright, acrylic works mirror Israel’s lighter side, portraying pub culture, nightlife and images of beachgoers lazing in the sand, which are splashed across the country’s building facades and cultural centres.

“I have been giving gifts to cities through murals for 35 years. I like to bring funny figures to balance life under pressure,” remarked Meiri. He does this with peeping toms, funny faces and realistic characters to bring smiles and laughter to passers-by.

Meiri was brought to South Africa as a joint collaboration project between the Embassy of Israel and City Property Administration, a residential and commercial property management company, owned by the Wapnick family. 

According to City Property’s MD, Jeffery Wapnick, the company is extremely proud of its achievements in helping to uplift the Pretoria CBD. Its partnership with the Israeli Embassy in bringing Meiri to South Africa was based on City Property’s mission to revive and regenerate the Pretoria CBD. It was also the result of collaborative efforts between South Africa and Israel, working with the community and local business. 

The first completed mural (pictured) depicts two men working off open platforms on a high-rise building while the second (front page photo) is on the wall of an orphanage in the CBD, which Meiri is doing as a workshop with second- year students from the University of Technology and joined by staff of City Property. 

“What happens here is wonderful, working with local people and giving this gift to the City of Pretoria,” said Meiri who uses his environment as part of the picture he creates.  

Meir’s work is well-known in Israel, but he has also been commissioned to create murals in the US, Argentina, Germany and China, where Israel’s embassy commissioned him to paint a mural on the wall surrounding a Beijing elementary school. 

More recently, he began conducting workshops to get members of the community involved in this art process. Under his guidance, employees have gone out and helped to paint their own office walls, while high school learners have been able to leave their mark, bringing communities together in more ways than one.

He has found it very interesting to tour and see the history of the country which inspires his art work. People working together give the atmosphere to what is created and he hopes that the children in the orphanage will be happier with their new cheerful building.

Meiri will also be doing murals in Cape Town after driving through the Garden Route and said that from what he had already seen of South Africa, he would return.

 

 

1 Comment

  1. 1 Denis Solomons 08 Jul
    Do we need him in this country ! ?

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