Cape Town through the eyes of an artist

Cape Town through the eyes of an artist

Artist Fadiel Hermans shares the inspiration behind his art, his favourite spots in the city, and his love of thrifting on the weekends.

I was born in Somerset Hospital and spent my early childhood growing up in Bo Kaap, in Shortmarket Street (aka Kortmark Straat to the locals). I still remember the earthy, clay tones of the ground, the white limewash all the houses were painted with, and sitting on our stoep in the evening, mesmerised by the twinkling lights of the ships in Table Bay Harbour.

Cape Town through the eyes of an artist

I currently live in the huge suburb of Mitchell’s Plain. A true metropolis on its own that’s home to many hardworking people, with busy neighbourhoods, bustling malls, informal traders, industrial areas, and sports facilities. This area is a goldmine for creative talent, athletic ability and passionate individuals who excel in many varied fields.

I go to Long Street when I need to re-energise. I’ve loved walking down this road since I was a teenager, popping in at the many bookshops that once populated this road, the antique shops, the vintage shops and the many meeting spots for young people. Long Street has always had a certain positive energy that I could feed off and feel inspired by.

My favourite place in Cape Town is most definitely the Cape Town Central Library – specifically the Art Library within. I honestly forget that the rest of the city exists once I enter here. I can spend hours just diving into the many good books and discovering new worlds. During lockdown this was the one place I missed visiting the most!
The city has many well-known art galleries, but firm favourites are State of the Art and Iziko National Art Galleries. I have a special affinity to the Iziko Gallery because my first painting sold was to them and that set me off on my creative journey. Jennifer Reynolds, the State of the Art Gallery owner, was one of the first people to exhibit my work and expose my art to a worldwide audience with her innovative gallery approach.

Cape Town through the eyes of an artist

My favourite historical corner of Cape Town? Any corner in the Bo Kaap! These corners hold so much of the Malay collective memory on its sidewalks and stoeps that I, as a descendant of the early Malays in Cape Town, can feel that living vibration and energy of bygone times. I still hear our music, our folktales, and even our gossip when I visit.

On your way into town, pay Mariam’s Kitchen a visit. Their full house Toasted Steak Sandwich and famous Beans Salomi are the two items I always recommend! Just writing this makes me peckish… For coffee, I get my caffeine fix at Espresso Lab at the Old Biscuit Mill or at Come Brew in Rosmead.

I personally think that the many vacant plots and old buildings within the city are some of the most underrated spots. If you happen to pass by one, just stop and look – they’re little art galleries, celebrating our “street” art and graffiti culture.

Recently my two teenagers introduced me to the art of thrifting, and now our weekend walkabouts include thrift hunting in the Observatory, Salt River, Woodstock areas. From vintage and second-hand clothing to used CDs and LPs, vintage toys and bric-a-brac. If you are in the mood for a treasure hunt this weekend, head down to Lower Main Road!

Cape Town through the eyes of an artist

Key moments in my life were the days my daughter and son were born. Life changing in the true sense of the word. I am continually inspired, educated, and amazed by these two. At the tender age of 11 my daughter had so much belief in my artistic ability that she “forced” me and my paintings into the car, made me drive to an art gallery and show them my artworks. I’ve never looked back since that day!

I am deeply inspired by my memories of growing up in the Bo Kaap and Cape Flats. I am constantly leading my eye and hand down the many memory pathways in my brain. The abundant images and stories floating around in my mind constantly inspire new work, whether it’s a certain colour, an idea or even just a feeling I try to capture. I am also stirred by our city landscape and the many colourful characters of our beautiful city, which provide me with constant inspiration for bigger and better work.

Get Connected

You can find Fadiel’s work at State of the Art Gallery on Buitenkant Street

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