The New KZNSA Wall is Not What You Think

The KZNSA Gallery has a freshly painted wall thanks to three of Durban’s muralists; Mook Lion, Kev7 and Sphephelo Mnguni with the help of several young future-taggers.



Words and images by Niamh Walsh-Vorster

Imagination is an upside down red-faced frowning person with majestic technicoloured, wavy hair, with thoughts scribbled and scrawled across the forehead. That’s according to a handful of creative kids in Durban, at least.  With Durban being so small and constantly bumping into artists (hello, Glenwood), I asked Mook Lion, Kev7 and Sphephelo Mnguni what their experience of their three-day art course was like.

How was your experience facilitating a three day street art course?

Sphephelo Mnguni: The three day course of Street Art was a beautiful experience personally, and as an artist I felt I was giving something that wasn’t given to me when I began showing interest in art as a kid. We didn’t have a KZNSA to provide such opportunities growing up in Umlazi, and it’s one of the reasons why I was so happy for these young creative kids.

The course wasn’t difficult because I could see that the kids loved what they were doing, and they were incredibly talented more importantly.

Kev7: The course was amazing. Being that we were the teachers facilitating, I ended up learning a lot from the kids, on how to create without judgment and expectations.

Mook Lion: [It] was great to apply the theory of participatory public art, which I studied. The students gained an understanding of their potential by altering the public space and positively affecting the future. We helped the students realise their potential.




What is the meaning behind the artwork on the wall?

S: The concept and the key idea behind the artwork was the word “imagination”, the students were challenged to use their imagination and they did. We painted a big head facing upside down and the forehead section was filled with the kids’ imaginations and things they like the most. What I learned from painting with the kids is that they’re very spontaneous with their ideas and they’re not afraid to change their minds whenever new ideas emerge.

K7: Getting the kids to just go wild with their imaginations was the most fundamental concept in the creative process.

ML: Was great to get to know each student as the workshop went on, their style, way of working etc. The mural is about youthful imagination. The students’ ideas represented as drawings are literally placed in the forehead of our red character. The characters eyes are screwed up as if in the process of generating an idea.

What do you hope to achieve as a muralist in Durban?

S: I’d like to see more jobs being created for the Durban street art scene, so that artists can actually make a decent living out of it. And I’d also like to see the black youth in particular getting involved, because I don’t see a lot of them taking part in the Durban street art scene. Those are the basic things I’d like to see.

K7: More appreciation, respect and love shown towards public art. Changing people’s minds isn’t easy, but touching their hearts is what art can achieve. The importance of public art as a platform is for communicating and translating cultural ideas and the views of a collective society.



Sphephelo’s work can be viewed in the Main Gallery part of the Sasol New Signatures KZN Submissions exhibition until 22 July 2018.  Mook Lion will be exhibiting alongside artist, Samora Chapman, in the Mezzanine Gallery later this month. Kev7 is marking Grace Jones on a wall near you.

Weekly art classes are available for kids and adults. You can book for various Saturday Sessions here:


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