Faith47 (born Cape Town, 1979) is a South African artist who has held solo exhibitions in New York (2015), London (2014) and Johannesburg (2012). Faith47 began painting in 1997, three years after the end of apartheid. Using a wide range of media, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate – from found and rescued objects, to time-layered and history-textured city walls, to studio-prepared canvas and wood. A self-taught artist, Faith47 is widely regarded as one of the most famous South African street artists, although her art has reached international fame. Faith47 is also one of the most famous female street and graffiti artists in the world. As both a notable South African and woman street artist, Faith47 speaks both to female and Third World issues, a unique position compared to most street artists.
Common themes across Faith47's work include sacred and mundane spaces as well as political problems, from environmental destruction, border abolition, and humanitarian issues. Compositional motifs include women such as angels, lady liberty, and African mothers with children on their back. These female figures speak to women's issues such as motherhood and the feminization of poverty. Her art and rich symbolism speaks to South African issues of injustice, poverty, and inequality. Her murals are often referred to as post-apartheid, as they confront the failure of neo-liberal politics of the South African Freedom Charter in violent and impoverished townships in South Africa. Some of her works were often associated with religion. In one of Faith47's books she writes, "I am not religious but I pray through my work to unknown devils and gods. I look for my soul in colors and empty my being through parables of rusted, lost metal doors." She also has mentioned in an interview her process in which she feels religious spirits, "In empty buildings that felt like spiritual experiences, exploring holy chambers of neglected architecture... finding something so beautiful in what society disregards, and bringing to life that which usually people throw away or ignore."
Faith47’s first solo exhibition, Fragments of a Burnt History (2012, David Krut Gallery, Johannesburg), considered the transformation of Johannesburg into a more representative African city, exposing the harsh realities of day-to-day life and capturing the remnants of South Africa’s complex history in a personal and symbolic manner. Through the creation of an immersive environment in the gallery space, this work challenged the viewer’s detachment.
Aqua Regalia - Chapter One (2014, Moniker Projects, London), further extended the possibilities of immersive spaces, enveloping the viewer into a sacred ‘room’ filled with collected objects and other intricacies from everyday life that – together with figurative paintings – explore the notion of the mundane as sacred, celebrating the discarded and unwanted as holy.
"Aqua Regalia – Chapter Two" (2015, Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York) was a continuation of this, again exploring the dichotomy between the sacred and the mundane by enveloping viewers in a space with figurative paintings, as well as intricacies from everyday life in shrine-like artworks. The two exhibitions were named after a highly corrosive mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid that has the ability to dissolve gold.
Following an active street art career spanning more than fifteen years, Faith47's work can now be found in major cities around the world. Notable works include:
- The Freedom Charter (South Africa, 2010)
Taking her inspiration from the old political slogans and stencils that were used during the struggle against apartheid, Faith47 brought to life sentences from the Freedom Charter document that she felt were still pressing in South Africa.
- The Taming of the Beasts (Shanghai, 2012)
- The Long Wait (Johannesburg, 2012)
These murals, of groups of men in various postures of waiting, reference photographs from Alexia Webster’s photographic series, Waiting for Work. The works imply different kinds of waiting particular to a contemporary South African context. As Faith47 told Wooster Collective, “Miners are waiting for justice. Workers are waiting for a living wage. People are waiting for service delivery. Refugees are waiting for assistance. Men are waiting for jobs. We are all waiting for an honest politician. So many people are waiting for others to do things first. To take the blame. To do things for them. To take the fall. To build the country. To admit defeat. There has been so much waiting in this country that much time has been lost.”
- Harvest (Cape Town, 2014)
A partnership between Faith47, Design Indaba and ThingKing, the multi-story artwork lit up at night each time enough money was raised for one new light to be installed on a pathway in the informal settlement of Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, through the organisation VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading). The intricate lighting pattern was an artistic endeavour that also served as a reminder that there were communities in the city that lack the luxury of light, which is a major public safety concern.
- The Psychic Power of Animals (New York, 2015)
With this series, Faith47 reintroduced the energy of nature back into the urban metropolis, softening the harsh city architecture with the gracefulness and spirit-like presence of swans. “There’s an inherent irony in recreating nature on cement, so the series is a nostalgic reminder of what we’ve lost but also an attempt to reintegrate that into the present,” Faith47 said. “We have become so distanced from nature, so these murals are an attempt to reconnect us with the natural world.”
- Estamos Todos Los Que Cabemos (Harlem, 2015)
Painted as part of the Monument Art NYC project's focus on immigration, Estamos Todos Los Que Cabemos speaks of the migratory patterns of birds, observing that nature ignores human borders on a map. “We forget that the dividing lines specifying countries were merely drawn by politically hungry men. In reality, the earth is open. There are no countries, no borders, it belongs to no one. We are transient visitors and should travel as we please," Faith47 told Arrested Motion.
"Faith47 celebrates the commonplace as holy in an attempt to disarm strategies of global realpolitik and advance the expression of personal truth. In this way her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.” Juxtapoz
"Using different mediums, including graphite, spray paint, oil paint, ink, photography and collage, she usually paints on found objects or discarded documents, transferring the feel of her mural works. The transparency of her mark making and the texture of finished works give them a sense of age and spirituality. Often mixing religious iconography with ordinary, everyday elements and geometrical objects, her paintings, drawings and sketches seem to have an almost sacramental importance.” Arrested Motion
“A South African artist whose textured imagery brings spirituality and nature to the foreground of urban environments.” Huffington Post
"A rare incantation of both the earthly and the transcendent." Mass Appeal
"Transformative work... concerned with the valuation and transformation of things that have been lost or overlooked." Booooooom
"Deeply profound visions existing as physical aesthetic gifts for other viewers." Supersonic Art
"Equally at home in grimy alleys as she is in a studio, she creates murals that are both breathtaking and poignant. I challenge anyone to look at her work and not feel a little overawed by her talent.” Carte Blanche
Exhibition and Project History
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- Aqua Regalia Solo Exhibition – Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York,USA
- Pow Wow Taiwan – Taipei, Taiwan
- Art Liberté Group Exhibition, Du Mur de Berlin – Gare de l’Est, Paris, France
- Dragon Tiger Mountain Mural Project – Nanachang, China
- Ono’u Mural Project – Tahiti
- Festival Mural – Montreal, Canada
- Murals for Oceans Expedition Mural Project – Cozumel, Mexico
- Aqua Regalia Solo Exhibition – London, UK
- Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary Group Show – Paris, France
- Library Street Collective Group Show – Basel, Miami, USA
- Redux Group Show – Inoperable Gallery, Vienna, Austria
- Artscape Mural Project – Malmo, Sweden
- 5 Sector Mural Project – Glasgow, Scotland
- Djerbahood – Djerba, Tunisia
- Forest for the Trees Mural Project – Portland, USA
- Rencontres Australes d’Imaitsoanala – Antananaraivo, Madagascar
- Outdoor Urban Art Festival – Rome, Italy
- The Art of Collaboration Wynwood Walls, Basel – Miami, USA
- Artesano Mural Project – Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
- Women on the Walls Group Exhibition, Jeffrey Deitch and Wynwood Walls – Miami, USA
- Wooster Collective 10 Year Anniversary Show, Jonathan Levine Gallery – New York, USA
- XII. Into the Dark Group Exhibition – Unit44, The Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle, UK
- Brotkunsthalle Group Show – Vienna, Austria
- Beyond Eden Group Exhibition – Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
- Anniversary Group Show – White Walls Gallery, San Francisco, USA
- Memorie Urbane Mural Project – Gaeta, Italy
- Sculptura Viva International Symposium – San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
- Nuart Mural Project – Stavanger, Norway
- MAUS Mural Project – Malaga, Spain
- Avant-Garde Urbano Mural Project – Tudela de Navarra, Spain
- Los Muros Hablan Mural Project – San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Pow Wow Mural Project – Hawaii
- Fragments of a Burnt History Solo Exhibition – David Krut Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Antenna Garden Dal & Faith47 exhibition – Rtist Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
- International Women, Warrington Museum Group Exhibition – London, UK
- Mural Project – Tel Aviv, Israel
- Aarhus International Mural Project – Aarhus, Denmark
- Group Show, Kulturhuset – Stockholm, Sweden
- Mural Project – Sion, Switzerland
- Mural Project – Melun, France
- Wall Therapy Mural Project – Rochester, New York, USA
- Wynood Walls – Miami, USA
- Urban Painting Group Show – Milan, Italy
- Group Exhibition – Wuppertal Museum, Germany
- Group Exhibition – Warrington Museum, London, UK
- Gossip Well Told Group Show – Blackall Studio, London, UK
- Les murs litinerrance Group Show – Paris, France
- Urban Mural Project – Greece
- City Leaks Mural Project – Cologne, Germany
- Inner Walls Mural Project – Milan, Italy
- Batelier Mural Project – Slovakia
- Moniker Art Fair – London, UK 
- Design For Humanity Group Exhibition – Thinkspace, Los Angeles, USA
- For Those Who Live In It Group Exhibition – Mu Gallery, Eindhoven, Netherlands
- Le Salon Du Cercle De La Culture Group Show – Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin, Germany
- Stroke03 Art Fair – Berlin, Germany
- Escape Art Fair – Vienna, Austria
- Biennial – São Paulo, Brazil
- Focus10 Art Fair – Switzerland
- Urbanus International Mural Project – China
- Muao Mural Project – A Coruna, Spain
- The Generations Group Show – The Showroom Gallery, New York, USA
- Epitaph Solo Show – Mrego, Brussels, Belgium
- Four Group Show – 34 Long Fine Art Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
- Artotale International Mural Project – Lueneberg, Germany
- The Restless Debt Of Third World Beauty Solo Show – Atm Gallery, Berlin, Germany
- 1st Internationale Graffiti Bienale – Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- Anything Could Happen Group Exhibition – Carmichael Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
- Be Girl Be Mural Project – Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, USA
- Pick Of The Harvest Group Exhibition – Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
- Lines Of Attitude Group Exhibition and Mural Project – South Africa And Kenya
- Subglob Group Exhibition – Orebro, Sweden
- Go Gallery Group Exhibition – Amsterdam
- Brendon Bell-Roberts; Ashraf Jamal, “100 Good Ideas,” March, 2014.
- Mail&Guardian Book of South African Women 2012
-  VNA Magazine, March, 2013.
- Faith47 From Here to Fame, 2011
- Mail&Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2010
- Graffiti World Thames & Hudson, 2009
- Graffiti Women Thames & Hudson, 2006
- Mural Art - murals on huge public surfaces around the world Publikat, 2009
- Street Fonts Thames & Hudson, 2011
- Walls & Frames: Fine Art from the Street Gestalten, 2011
- Modart Book #02 Modart, 2011
- Graffiti and Street Art Thames & Hudson, 2011
- Capax Infiniti (2014), Portland, Oregon
- The Creators: South Africa Through the Eyes of Its Artists (2012)
- "Faith47's New Exhibition "Aqua Regalia – Chapter Two"". Juxtapoz Magazine.
- "Previews: Faith47 – “Aqua Regalia” @ Moniker Projects". ArrestedMotion.
- "Faith47 at David Krut Projects in November 2012". Artthrob.
- Ross, Jeffrey Ian (2016-03-02). Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art. Routledge. ISBN 9781317645863.
- "Update: faith47 - we-are-awesome.". we-are-awesome..
- "Graffiti art: Faith47". Financial Mail.
- Marco, Valesi, (2014-01-01). "Clean Wall, Voiceless People: Exploring Socio-Identitarian Processes through Street-Urban Art as Literature". eScholarship.
- "Faith47, 'The Taming of the Beasts', Shanghai". Unurth.
- "Faith47 In NYC". Visi.
- "Streets: Faith47 (New York)". ArrestedMotion.
- "The Long Wait - by Faith47". Wooster Collective.
- "Fighting for freedom". Design Indaba.
- "New Work by Faith47 on the Streets of London and Cape Town". Colossal.
- Gamse, Laura (2012). "The Creators: South Africa Through the Eyes of Its Artists". thecreatorsdocumentary.com. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- Levine, Susan (2012-04-21). "The Creators: South Africa through the Eyes of Its Artists (review)". African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review. 2 (1): 175–178. ISSN 2156-7263.
- Edwards, Katie B. (2015-02-26). Rethinking Biblical Literacy. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9780567657510.
- "Faith47". Design Indaba.
- "Moniker Projects Present: Faith47 'Aqua Regalia' (London, UK)". Brooklyn Street Art. 9 October 2014.
- "An interview with Artist Faith47". Instagrafite.
- "#ANOTHERLIGHTUP by Design Indaba Trust, Faith47 and Thingking". Design Indaba.
- "The insider's guide to Johannesburg: 'Gold, blood, work, dance, faster'". The Guardian. 27 April 2015.
- "The Writing Is on the Wall". The New York Times. 28 May 2014.
- "In Brooklyn, a Protest Mural Draws Its Own Protest". The New York Times. 26 September 2015.
- "10 Women Street Artists Who Are Better Than Banksy". The Huffington Post. 4 September 2014.
- Jamie Maleszka (18 November 2015). "Mass Appeal — Since '96". Mass Appeal.
- "Artist Spotlight: Faith47". Booooooom.
- "Faith47′s “Aqua Regalia - Chapter Two” at Jonathan...". Supersonic Art.
- "Faith47: When Walls Speak". Carte Blanche.
- "Faith47 Biography – Faith47 on artnet". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 2017-04-04.