Cableway reveals a new skin on its birthday

To mark the 78th birthday of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company and the 10th anniversary of the rotating cable car, the Cableway today unveiled two gigantic new murals flanking the gateway to Table Mountain, at the Lower Station entrance.

The murals were created by contemporary art initiative CitySkin, headed by artist Dathini Mzayiya. He was selected as part of a competition run by the Cableway where local artists were invited to enter their proposals for the decoration of the 7.95m by 1.83m walls. A group of ten art students from the Arts & Media Access Centre were used by Mzayiya to assist in painting the murals.

The murals are a reflection of different aspects of the mountain - the protea, the aloe, the sea, the sunset, the flora and the fauna. When one looks at the murals straight on, one can see Table Mountain towering ahead, with the murals framing it on either side - the left mural a view of Devil’s Peak and the right of Lion’s Head. Each mural consists of dozens of mosaic-style paint blocks.

“We wanted to mark the Cableway’s birthday and the 10th anniversary of the new Cableway in a

meaningful way,” said Sabine Lehmann, Managing Director of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company. “Art should be a significant aspect of any public space. Dathini’s new murals add to the visitor experience whilst not detracting from the enjoyment of a natural World Heritage Site.”

Mzayiya has exhibited in South Africa, Ethiopia, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. He is the founding member of the Gugulective, an arts, culture and open education collective and is vice-chair of Hope for the Children, an organisation that provides refuges for orphans and underprivileged children.

“I had two primary goals for this project: firstly, to engage the viewer actively both as an individual and a member of a trans-national community; secondly, the work should highlight Table Mountain as the international icon that it is,” said Mzayiya. “The work offers the viewer two visions from within the veil of the shadow of the mountain. We see the world from the perspective of two vantage points along the Plattekloof passage. The towering horizon line, a radiant twilight colour range and a deep foreground of intricate colour combine to convey the sense, so familiar to Capetonians, that everything in life passes under the timeless, austere watchfulness of the mountain.”

The Cableway will hold this competition every two years in order to keep the murals fresh and contemporary so Mzayiya’s work will be displayed until 2009.

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