Bridging cultural divides through street art with Okuda
Take a walk down Albert Road in Woodstock, Cape Town, and you'll be greeted by an explosion of colour that has been widely hailed as a gorgeous addition to the street art of the Mother City. Created by Spanish mural artist Okuda San Miguel, the giant artwork hugs the black wall outside Side Street Studios in a burst of vibrant geometrics.
Although he'd initially been in South Africa at the invitation of the City of Gold Urban Art Festival in Johannesburg, where he painted a wall with German artist Case, Okuda subsequently visited a friend in Cape Town who suggested the mural as a fun project. Besides South Africa, Okuda has also created works in countries around the world including Mozambique, Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands.
With a distinct style that he describes as 'pop sub-realism', Okuda transforms visually uninteresting and degraded buildings into unique and multicoloured sites. He developed this style in his hometown of Santander, and refined his skills when studying fine art at the University of Madrid. Now he's known for his trippy geometric prints, which often also feature human and animal characters.
Ranging from public sculptures to works created for the interiors of buildings, Okuda's artworks expose him to all sorts of audiences, and he says that loves the fact that he can see peoples' reactions to his works immediately.
'I feel that my real work is to contribute to changing people’s lives in a more positive way. I saw it happening in some places and felt something incredible,' says the artist. 'I learned how art is the only religion that erases the borders between cultures, social levels, religions or genders.'
Currently on a European tour, Okuda has his first solo show in France from 17 June to 29 August at the Adda & Taxie Gallery in Paris. After that, he has plans to paint a 20-floor building in Luxembourg, a castle in Paris and another mural in Bucharest. We just hope that he adds South Africa to that travel list again sometime soon.