A visual Masterpiece greets commuters
A versatile artist who studied fine art at Tuks university, Petru has spent the past 25 years working as a graphic artist in South Africa and for a while in Germany, has staged a number of exhibitions of her fine art, and more recently extended her repertoire to include mural art.
Having recently given a facelift to Noordhoek Farm Village, Petru is hugely excited about her new commission to transform the two pedestrian tunnels on the Century City Station Walkway - one of which is 11m long by 4m wide and 4m high and the other 10m long, 3m high and 4m wide. These murals depict screenshots of Century City with a strong emphasis on Intaka Island wetlands reserve, its bird life and its flora. But they also embrace the human element and other iconic landmarks that make up our City within a City.
Petru says per her brief the art will welcome pedestrians travelling from the station to Century City and back home again and provide not only a visual attraction but also play an educative role about what constitutes our City.
The pre-planning of the murals was “intense” and all-encompassing for Petru.
Firstly rough drawings were done followed by image selection and a colour dissection of the animals, birds, plants, buildings and real life Century City human characters that are included. Paint had to be selected and ordered - a total of 45 shades and colours of paint are being used in the renderings, some of which are 3D and the tunnel walls had to be cleaned and primed ready for action.
“The preparation period is a crucial time for me to get into character for my artwork - I literally eat sleep and dream it. I immerse myself in it - every aspect of it is meditated upon in fine detail. It is like playing a symphony.”
As she works, pedestrians chat and engage with her and some of these characters she has captured on her camera and they will feature as part of the human element of the murals.
A single mother of a 21 year old daughter who is following in her footsteps doing a degree in fine art at Michaelis, Petru says she finds working in the outdoors with the cement of the tunnel as her canvas invigorating.
“For years I have toiled long hours behind a computer. It takes a toll on one’s body and I ended up with a blood clot which I am sure was due to being so inactive. Working in the outdoors like this is the complete opposite; it is physical, active work and it is building my strength.
“I am in my element. This is exactly where I want to be and exactly what I want to be doing.”
The murals are expected to be completed around the end of May. They really are worth viewing and you might be lucky and get to meet the effervescent Petru in person!