New Green Point Track adorned by Artvark urban art sculptures, links Cape Town’s past and present!


Green Point Track Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Saturday Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille officially opened the Green Point Track, a new sporting facility which is hidden on the cul de sac road that leads away from the Cape Town Stadium, across the road from McDonalds.  Given that the launch has been very low key, with barely any information to be found via Google, we requested Artvark, the creators of ten urban art sculptures made for the Green Point Track, to let us have more information about the project.  It was interesting to read the motivation for the sculptures created, linking Cape Town’s sporting and recreation past and present.

On the cards since 2009, the urban art project was deemed to be an important part of the upgrading of the Track, to commemorate its history specifically, and the sporting and cultural history of Cape Town generally.  Landscape artist Darryl Pryce-Lewis conceptualised the idea of negative and positive panels made from metal, all to be positioned in a straight line, creating a ‘visual effect to be able to look through a negative space of an individual sculpture towards the positive, the symbolism of this already touch upon the diverseness and challenges faced in our country‘, explains Artvark.

Last year the designs for 10 life-size sculptures by Artvark designers Theresa Jo and CP Wessels were approved, representing in a modern and funky manner the goal to ‘visually and emotionally portray the rich history, heritage and significance of the site that is publicly accessible and also used for sporting and fund raising events’. 

The design themes resulted from an analysis of Cape Town’s almost 400 year heritage, guiding the designs:

  1. ‘British Period / 19th Century: In 1850 there was a report in the Cape Monitor of a cricket match at the Common, and Basil d’Olviera is one of the great names associated with cricket in the Cape. In 1856 rugby was introduced to Cape Town and 1897 Jack Rose set an Amateur cycling world record at the track.
  2. Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902): The grounds served as grounds for British and Colonial troops. The track was used as a tented camp area for Boer prisoners of war was held in transit before being shipped to St Helena, Ceylon and Bermuda.
  3. 20th Century: The first coon carnival was held on the Green Point common in 1907 and in 1910 the track was the rehearsal venue for the Great Pageant. The track became an important venue for these parades and competitions from the 1920’s. The ‘Kaapse Klopse’ also marked the significant event of the ending of slavery.
  4. Later 20th Century, Apartheid era and present: The track was a popular sporting and recreational venue for marginalized communities in Cape Town. Later on schools from poorer areas such as Bo-Kaap, District Six, Docks, Tramways road, Sea Point and St. Augustines in Kloof Street held annual athletic meetings.
  5. Present: The ground is shared by various sport clubs, winter season – Schotse Kloof Walmers and Young Stars Rugby Clubs, summer season – United Cricket Club’.

Jo did the designs, creating a unique character for each of the design themes, which had to tell a story, yet allow the viewers of the artwork to interpret each sculpture in their own way.  Wessels produced the sculptures, making them three-dimensional, using two metal plates with a flange in-between them.  They have been erected at eye level.  The sculptures are the following, not all immediately recognisable without explanation, and are linked to the five themes above:

*  The Cape Minstrels’ annual parade at New Year celebrates the end of slavery in the Cape.   The Green Point Track is used for the parade.   The positive and negative Minstrel sculptures reflect the city’s lights, Table Mountain, Bo Kaap, and the Minstrels’ smiles, bowler hats, umbrellas, and gloved hands.

*   The Freedom Fighter refers to the Anglo Boer War, the track having been a field with tents before the Boers were sent to prisoner of war camps in Ceylon.  The religious cross in the sculpture reflects the 40000 women and children that died in this war.   The children are depicted to be barefoot, while the freedom fighters have thick sole ‘tekkies‘.

*   Green Point Track Rugby Whale Cottage PortfolioRugby players

*   Cricket players

*   Athletes

*   Cyclists

*   The original grandstand, built in 1895 and having burnt down in 1935, is reflected in one of the sculptures.

*   Good sportsmanship is depicted, with a girl smiling,  and children winning.

We hope to contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the urban art Green Point Track Patricia de Lille Artvarksculptures that have been created outside and inside the grounds of the new Green Point Track.  Green Point Councillor Bev Schafer said that the sculptures will be lit up, so that one can see them from Signal Hill.

Green Point Track, corner Fritz Sonnenberg Road and Granger Bay Boulevard, Green Point, Cape Town.

Artvark Gallery, 48 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town. Tel (021) 788-5584. The photograph of the Mayor used with the permission of Artvark.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  Twitter: WhaleCottage

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 27k

WhaleTales Blog


We don’t spam!

Read our privacy policy for more info.