GRAFFITI ARTIST USES ART TO CREATE AWARENESS
Written by: Nicole Bowran
Graffiti artist, Gifford Duminy is becoming well-known in the Durban community for his unique artwork that is being displayed around schools, businesses and recreational areas.
Twenty-two-year-old Duminy said that many things have influenced him to do what he is passionate about.
“There have been a lot of people who have influenced me over the years. First I painted graffiti for years, the whole way through high school. One of my biggest influences was actually my art teacher, Mrs Lynette Perrisinitto. In high school she let me paint whatever I wanted and she in a way encouraged me to do spray painting,” narrated Duminy.
“I didn’t enjoy doing fine art so I just carried on with spray painting and practised by learning from other artists,” he added.
Duminy has been using his artwork to create awareness about issues such as racism and preserving the ocean and rhino poaching. His most recent project has been to paint a mural of rhinos for the new arts centre at Clifton School in Durban.
“I really enjoy adding to our community and schools through the use of art and the most powerful aspect of art is that it enables people to see things that they have never seen before,” said Duminy.
Kristen Leppens, a science teacher at Clifton School said that the children at school love Duminy’s artwork.
“The kids absolutely love his artwork. We made it a surprise for them because we have just moved into the new science and art centre and when they saw the rhinos that Gifford painted for the centre they were ecstatic and they enjoyed watching him paint the mural too,” stated Leppens.
Duminy has also painted for other schools and his personal favourite was the painting he did of a leopard for Kloof high School.
“I really enjoyed the leopard I did for Kloof High, that was the biggest mural that I have done so far and it took some time but it was a challenge and a lot of fun to do,” said Duminy.
By using graffiti to create awareness, Duminy is hoping to break the stereotype that graffiti is linked to a negative part of art.
“Everyone thinks spray paint is for doing illegal graffiti and tags but I am doing the complete opposite to that and doing something that is conservative and creates meaning,” explained Duminy.
“It’s cool to make people second guess what spray painting is actually used for,” he added.
Duminy is currently travelling in Turkey and is hoping to create awareness internationally through his artwork.
“For a month I am in Turkey and I am going to be doing quite a bit of painting there and I want to paint a lot of indigenous animals, especially birds, and I would just like to create awareness for their animals as well and also to just paint as much as I can,” concluded Duminy.
*Caption: Gifford Duminy painting a mural of a leopard at Kloof High School. Photo by – Heather MacGregor