Some people don’t like street art. They say it uglifies a neighbourhood, brings property prices down, and is akin to an act of vandalism. Such people rarely complain about advertising posters and billboards, though, probably because they blend into the scenery and earn their keep as messengers of commerce. But good street art can play a vital role in helping to define the rhythm of a city, providing a platform for artistic expression and sociopolitical commentary, and bringing a jazzy vitality to the cityscape. This morning I wandered around Newtown, Johannesburg’s cultural hub, which has been turned into a great open-air gallery for street art, on the walls of warehouses and stores and the struts of the freeway flyover. It’s a gritty, behind-the-scenes part of town that would otherwise not leave much reason for the casual visitor to linger. But the art here is vivid, lively, playful, relevant, and imaginative. Take a stroll around sometime. (With thanks to @2summers, @dazmsmith, and the many other Instawalkers whose pics of the area inspired me to take a look for myself.)


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