Public Art as a tool for community upliftment and development

Public Art as a tool for community upliftment and development

Public art transforms how an area is perceived and experienced by its inhabitants. This session will bring together street artists from across Africa to discuss the role of public art in communities.

Public art transforms how an area is perceived and experienced by its inhabitants as well as the wider public. Art enhances the appearance and personality of a neighbourhood, thereby increasing the local community’s sense of pride and belonging.

Improvements in physical surroundings, as well as emotional awareness and sentiment, can help to create jobs, such as guiding tours and support businesses. Street art adds a distinct and unique character to an area, often encouraging local and international tourism.


L’art public transforme la façon dont une zone est perçue et vécue par ses habitants ainsi que par le grand public. L’art améliore l’apparence et la personnalité d’un quartier, augmentant ainsi le sentiment de fierté et d’appartenance de la communauté locale.

Les améliorations de l’environnement physique ainsi que la prise de conscience émotionnelle et les sentiments peuvent aider à créer des emplois, tels que des visites guidées, et soutenir les entreprises. Le street art ajoute un caractère distinct et unique à une zone, encourageant souvent le tourisme local et international.


Host: Baz-art

Cape Town, South Africa

Alexandre Tilmans

Alexandre Tilmans is a Belgium born businessman who has a Masters in Business Engineering from the world-renowned Solvay Business School and is passionate about entrepreneurship and public art.

He served as Chairman on the board of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce and has been assisting other local and international enterprises with the Financial Advisory Services, helping to grow and develop their business.

In 2018, Alex won the award for “Entrepreneur of the Year” as well as the “Business of the Year” for Baz-Art at the Cap40 annual Business Awards. In Cape Town, he co-created Africa’s largest mural festival since 2017!


Bhupi Jethwa who is widely recognized as WiseTwo, is a Kenyan Multi-Disciplinary Artist. His journey into the world of street art and graffiti started in the streets of Nairobi, mainly in the high density areas of Kibera and Jericho. The name WiseTwo was self-given, a breakdown from the word wisdom but still humble hence the two, in reference to “not everyone can be the Wise One.”

In 2012 WiseTwo commenced his nomadic journey around the world taking his art to over 15 countries and currently he is located in Nairobi, Kenya.

Wisetwo’s curious nature and urge to explore and discover more has allowed him to create a strong bridge between art worlds, from more traditional approaches to contemporary art influences he has been able to create a plethora of work, from collages, watercolors and paintings to large scale murals, thus creating a universal thread that runs through all the masks he paints and creating a connection that holds humanity together.

In that venture one can see the personal quest, a tug of war between ancient worlds and newer ones, a creation of harmony between the intricate choice of color palettes and masks that carry an entire universe. Each artwork invokes a feeling of psychedelic trance, a premise for important questions about Life, existence, culture, race, ideas, wisdom, knowledge, representation, identity, inclusion and more.

This all serves to reinforce his narratives and perspectives of balance, a world based on impulse and meditation, one with joy and pain, language and symbols, art and science, life and death, hence giving the viewer a chance of contemplation and why we exist on this earth.

WiseTwo’s artworks adorn massive wall spaces across the globe, some paintings are held in private collections and others in intimate site-specific locations.

Today his artwork can be found in several private and public collections including:
Converse Head Offices in Mexico City, Mexico, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya, Michael Goldstein Law Offices, Los Angeles, California, USA, United Nations, Zurich, Switzerland, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya.

Judith Kaine

Judith Kaine founder of Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga – which translates in English to “To Create, To See, To Learn” – is Rwanda’s preeminent public-arts social enterprise and custom art services provider. The organization works with professional Rwandan artists to create works of art that transform spaces and places through color and creativity.

Founded in 2013 with a mission of “bringing art out of the gallery and into the streets,” Kurema is working to put more color into the lives of people across Rwanda through unique community art-actions and custom creative commissions that drive social change and community development. Kurema brings a range of stakeholders together through strategic partnerships to deliver meaningful projects with shared value; to date the team has developed over 50 murals across the country, in addition to photography and sculpture projects as well as workshops, exhibitions, trainings, and group activities in 26 of Rwanda’s 30 districts. A combination of grant funding, sponsorships, fee-for-service commissions, and sale of merchandise enables this work.

Osa Seven

Osa Seven is an Urban GFX and Graffiti Artist, with a passion for telling stories using contemporary art. From abstract art, and tribal art designs that appeal to human emotions to portraits of iconic characters, to scenic images, brand designs, Osa’s meticulousness, and brilliance can be seen through his works.

Being a visual communications graduate from the University of Lagos. His background working in brand communications and his eye for detail, allows him to effectively bring brand ideas to life through digital design, and physical brand activations.

In 2016, Osa was nominated in the Arts & Culture Category Of The Future Awards Africa. In 2019 Osa was commissioned by Hennessy to be the first African Artist to create art for the Very Special Cognac in celebration of the Hennessy Artistry 10years anniversary in Nigeria.

He has worked with different street art media, and major brands including, Apple, Microsoft, LaLiga, Hennessy, Pepsi, Gtbank, Globacom, MTV Base, Diageo, Chicken Republic and Live Mechanics.

Some of his most prominent work includes the Guinness Africa Special Brand Launch, Live Graffiti Art Performance at Felabration, MTV Base/Guinness #MadeOfBlack Campaign, and the award-winning SUPERSTAR Album Art for Wizkid. He was featured in the Microsoft Global Campaign for the 2017 Special Olympics.

Osa has been a workshop facilitator at both the British Council and Goethe Institute Events. He was featured on CNN’s Africa Voices as an artist disrupting the African space, and giving back to the society through his art. He has also been featured on BBC, Reuters, Super Sports, and various media. Osa is a Co-Founder of SociallyAfrica and is passionate about giving back to the society, and thus engages in social outreach, and NGO.

Session Summary

The panellist, Kathleen Pretorius, opened the session and welcomed everyone to the discussion of the street art scene in Africa. Kathleen emphasised that this platform is especially needed and relevant in the fast-growing African cities and towns which face massive social and environmental challenges. RISE Africa provides a platform to share bold, new ideas such as those that were shared within this webinar.

The first panellist and co-founder of Baz-Art, Alexandre Tilman with the second panellist Judith Kane, founder of Kurema, Kureba, Kwiga are that took the floor. Kathleen mentioned that public art can transform how an area is perceived and experienced by its locals as well as the wider public. Alexandre and Judith joined a panel discussion with Kathleen by answering questions and coming up with solutions for public art as a tool for community upliftment. The third and fourth panellists WiseTwo and Osa Seven join Kathleen in a panel discussion about why they took up street art as a form of expression.

Kathleen ended the panel discussion by asking the guests what their vision for urban street art is in the following 5 years. And as our guests said, the street, roof and walls should be covered in paint.