This is one of the rare miniature paintings I’ve done of a place I have yet to visit. I’ve painted many artworks with colourful houses, but the story behind these bright beauties is unique, one of suffering and of joy.
A few years ago my son and his wife travelled to South Africa to explore the national parks and the cities. In Capetown, they took a Cape Malay cooking class in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood – a part of the city that historically was filled with sparse white buildings leased to slaves brought from Malaysia and Indonesia in the 1700’s. The farmers who leased these dwellings dictated that they be kept white with no form of personalizing allowed. Upon the emancipation of slavery nearly 100 years later, the Malay community purchased these buildings, and as a declaration of freedom, painted them the colours of the rainbow. Today, the brilliant colours are maintained as a continuing expression of freedom and honouring the community’s legacy and contribution to the country.
Upon learning this story (just one of many), Capetown is definitely on my “must-visit” list. As I was painting this scene from one of my son’s photos, I imagined myself the girl in the painting’s foreground appreciating this colourful scene and the resiliency of the people that made it possible.
Original available at my online Etsy shop, ArtWeWonderful, and at local art events.