By: Themba Khumalo
The Bat centre is now sporting a new look thanks to nine volunteer artists from Durban along with the help of a renowned German artist. The eThekwini Municipality and the BAT Centre officially unveiled the new BAT Mural recently, which has been completed as a project between the Sister Cities of Bremen and Durban. City’s Head of International and Governance Relations Eric Apelgren said “Contact between these cities is particularly strong with co-operation ranging from sport, eco-tourism, climate change and arts and culture, amongst others. This year also marks the 17th anniversary of the existence of the BAT Centre so a project was developed to give the BAT a new and fresh face” he said.
He said arts and culture are tools that bring people together: “The idea of the mural was to allow people from different cultures to work together to develop common symbols representing what BAT stands for.”
Mural artist Edeltraut Rath from German’s city of Bremen spent a month in Durban working with 9 artists from the BAT centre. She said symbols, icons, patterns, emblems and letters to depict the activities of the BAT Centre were used to create the mural.
“The artists created and used stencils so that the artworks merged with no art style dominating another. The Zulu symbols merge with other signs in a modern artistic style. The artists worked with a limited palette: blue black, magenta, pink, sky blue, orange, and turquoise making the facade a bright, vibrant and informative new addition to the port of Durban’s skyline” said Edeltraut .
She said the unveiling of the mural was a fitting tribute prior to the Mayor James Nxumalo’s visit German later this year. Nxumalo is expected to visit Bremen in October to strengthen ties with the city. A memorandum of understanding between the sister cities is also expected to be signed.
Unveiling the new mural titled “Together 2011” Municipal Speaker Logie Naidoo said: “On behalf of the City we want to say thank you to Edeltraut and the artist who volunteered for this project. The Bat centre needed a fresh look. We all know that the Bat centre is a melting pot of cultural activities. The best and greatest artist on the African continent has graced this place. This place has also produced many artists.”
Chairman of the Bat Trust Dr.Aubrey Mokoape said “We treasure the relationship we have with the City of Durban and other various stakeholders including the port authorities. We would like to thank everyone who volunteered their services even though sometime the weather was bad people would come to work on the mural and even on weekends.”