Africa’s leading public arts festival, IPAF, will take place from 1-5 March 2023 in one of the oldest parks in South Africa – the Company’s Gardens. The seventh edition of the event will showcase innovative local and international creative talent, promising one-of-a-kind large scale public artworks, performances, art installations and more.

What started out as a small street art festival in the urban Salt River area of Cape Town has now grown into a community of entertainers, experts, performers and artists, attracting both locals and internationals.

IPAF co-founder Alexandre Tilmans believes the Company’s Garden is the perfect setting for 2023’s debut event. “We have an iconic landmark as our base and a greater number of artworks on show than ever before. The public can look forward to garden sculptures, and even augmented reality works in addition to the large-scale murals that have characterised previous years. What’s more, it’s entirely free to attend.”


Key IPAF highlights to look out for

The public will experience art beyond street art and murals. This festival will include installations, sculptures, art activations, outdoor pop-up exhibitions, performances, panel talks, and much more. The Company’s Garden will also be the start of the Festival’s Public Art Route, which one can do as a guided tour or with a self-guided map available on their website. Expect the route to be filled with art discoveries and interaction. Baz-Art believes that art should be accessible to all, and IPAF celebrates art that is created for the people. Working with incredible artists, the festival showcases site-specific public artworks that form part of shared outdoor community spaces, reflecting and adding to the diverse culture of Cape Town. The festival’s vision is to grow a greater awareness of the powerful social and economic impact of public art to unleash the potential of the creative sector in Africa.

Artists from Africa, Europe and South America will be exhibiting, including Parisian-based JonOne, Dublin native Aches, Bela Horiztone’s Criola, Madrid’s Fernando Sanchez-Castillo and Flander’s Gijs vanHee. Several local artists, including Marlene Steyn, vonMash, Pixel Monster, Studio Muti, Richie Madyira and Nyambo MasaMara will be on show alongside their international peers. 

What’s more, South African singer-songwriter Msaki will be unveiling a visual exhibition on the opening day of the event: Wednesday 1 March at the Company’s Garden. Hailing from the Eastern Cape, Msaki is known for her strong vocals and guitar skills and has carved out a niche in the indie-folk scene, though she also has the distinction of being a fully multi-disciplinary artist. The SAMA award-winning artist’s vision and expression seem to always be multi-dimensional. “IPAF really is a celebration of art in its many forms, and I’m proud to be a part of the festivities before I take my music hiatus, returning to the contemporary art side of myself,” Msaki says. Her show promises to be a unique sonic and visual experience. 


In addition, organisers are hosting expert panels, masterclasses, film screenings (at the nearby Labia Theatre), exhibitions, outdoor art classes and one-off events, like First Thursday street art tour on Wacky Wheels. IPAF has teamed up with local galleries, including WorldArt, who will be hosting a month-long exhibition of past IPAF artists’ works, and StateoftheART and Nel gallery, who will be displaying front-of-gallery public art pieces. 

The City of Cape Town has been supporting IPAF since its inception in 2017, priding itself in providing opportunities to artists in the city through multiple platforms and programmes. Alderman JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security says, “Partnering with Baz-Art for IPAF is an opportunity to not only provide platforms for artists but to also beautify our public spaces with breathtaking murals that these artists paint.”

The 2023 edition runs with the theme, “What If?” Event organisers encourage attendees to engage with the question, thereby challenging accepted norms and imagining a more unified society in future. It’s a testament to art’s unifying qualities, Tilmans says, that IPAF has grown year on year.

“We aim to highlight the importance of art in the cultural and socioeconomic marketplace,” says Tilmans. “An open arts festival can only benefit a city’s creative economy, and it gives us the opportunity to spotlight the extraordinary talent we have locally.” As IPAF continues to make strides, Tilmans hopes to cement Cape Town’s reputation as the place to be for innovators and creatives: a city where ideas flourish and thrive.  

IPAC set to Host International Speakers for the First Time

IPAF’s parallel conference event — the International Public Art Conference (IPAC) — returns for its second year and plays host to international speakers for the first time.

The talks run from 3-5 March at neighbouring 6 Spin Street, and opens with a presentation from Bjorn van Poucke and Warren Houtaeve, organisers of The Crystal Ship – known as a major annual street art event worldwide.

Later in the day, lawyer Aurelia Nxumalo will chair a discussion on artists rights in Africa, while UCT Professor Francois Viruly will discuss the importance of a “night-time economy.”

Friday plays host to a roundtable discussion with some of Africa’s finest creatives, before two international artists – JonOne and Aches – host individual masterclasses over two days.

“I’m looking forward to my trip to South Africa and creating works that feel inspired by the melting pot of cultures unique to Cape Town. Working with IPAF gives me a chance to mingle with like-minded creatives and the public at large. As an artist, you want people to experience your work first-hand and in-person, and I can’t wait to see the reaction. Especially since my art is directly influenced by the space and surroundings,” says JonOne – who’s globally represented by ArtTime. 

Find the full conference details and register for your spot here.

“IPAF 2023 promises to be our biggest – and best – festival yet, and we’re excited to see what the public thinks,” Tilmans says. “As we grow we want to continue to innovate, and we’re excited to break new ground with augmented reality and garden sculptures this time around. The public can expect a creative and enriching day out, as well as the opportunity to speak to the artists themselves.”

IPAF runs from 1-5 March 2023 from the Company’s Garden, Cape Town.

Featured image: Supplied