Beauty in Negative Spaces – Exploring Woodstock’s Street Art


My unexpected discovery of abundant street art in Cape Town led to my exploring Woodstock, a suburb on the fringes of the city that is fast becoming Street Art Central.08-IMG_9373

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Situated between the Table Bay docks and the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak, Woodstock is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicity that has had a long history of being run down, teeming with drugs, crime and litter, and while none of this will disappear overnight (oh that litter!), the last decade has seen a dramatic facelift with innovative businesses and trendy eateries converting and revamping abandoned buildings and warehouses.

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Almost every conceivable space is covered.  You’ll find works of varying quality on most street corners and adorning even the simplest of homes.

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And although Woodstock is high density living among the surrounding industry, it’s dotted with loads of Victorian semi-detached houses with a feel for yesteryear.  Many have been beautifully restored, while the neglected look of others is adorned with colourful pieces or art from scraps of wood.

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An additional treat is the omnipresent and iconic slab of mountain Cape Town is famous for as a backdrop.

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5 thoughts on “Beauty in Negative Spaces – Exploring Woodstock’s Street Art

  1. I recall Woodstock as being an area to avoid when I lived in CT but I like the street-art you have discovered there. I loathe litter though, and that is the one thing that struck me in South Africa around townships. Plastic bags everywhere, caught up in fences and hedges and trees 😦

    Your Victorian house reminds me of one I lived in in Muizenberg back in 1977. Such a cute little house and only yards from the beach. Love your header photo too! A bench with a view of your lovely Slangkop lighthouse 😀

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    • That header photo is one of my favourites. The lighting from the setting sun was just right and yes, I did think of you when I saw the bench in the shot 🙂

      Woodstock is still an area to avoid at times. During weekdays the passing traffic is chaotic and I wouldn’t venture into Woodstock at night. I was saddened to see a mountain of litter on the pavement outside a quaint church, right across from the wolf piece you admired, hence the tile “Beauty in Negative Spaces”, taken from an album title by South African Shaun Morgan and his (American) band Seether. There are loads of little Victorian semi’s in the areas of Woodstock where I ambled. Even some cobbled streets. I shall have to have a wander around Muizenberg for you. Do you have an address for me?

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      • 42 Cromer Road is where you’ll find the little Victorian terrace. Looking at it from Google maps they seem to have been gentrified! My other home (Bonray) was closer to the beach in Frankfort Rd next to a hotel on the corner of Church which I believe was a brothel/drug den in the years when Muizenberg was overrun with druggies from Nigeria. Such a shame as it was a lovely, bohemian sort of place when I lived there. Again, looking at it on Google the hotel is unrecognisable (probably pulled down and flats built) and I see Bonray is protected with evil-looking fencing. There is a lot of renovation going on in the streets around there. If you do go for a look, be careful! I went to Muizenberg in 2008 but didn’t go down the back streets so I don’t know how safe it is there.

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