A mystery graffiti artist’s work has set tongues wagging in a Port Elizabeth suburb.
The images have led some Richmond Hill residents to speculate whether or not the Friendly City has its own “Banksy”.
Banksy is the pseudonym of a renowned British satirical artist whose work conveys powerful social commentary and sends up mainstream politics. His graffiti features in towns and cities throughout the world.
Although the identity of the Port Elizabeth artist has not been established conclusively, it is widely believed Robin Gunningham is the man behind the graffiti in the suburb.
Two artworks on Westbourne Oval’s boundary wall, signed off by “Oata”, are at the centre of the suburban chatter.
The images, which constitute the rear view of a woman in a white dress holding a bunch of red roses or petals, and a man dressed as a barman or waiter in an upmarket establishment with arms wide open and a spray can in his hands, have had residents scratching their heads as to who is behind the work.
The graffiti is on the Bingley Street side of the wall.
Although the identity of the woman in the one work is a mystery, some residents have speculated that the man in the other could be the bungling and bumbling Spanish waiter played by Andrew Sachs in the cult British comedy series Fawlty Towers.
Beer Yard co-owner Kerry Repton was tight-lipped about the artist’s identity, but said her staff had spotted him at night-time.
“I found out about him through my waiters, who said he came in the dead of night near our closing time and did his thing, after which he packed up his stuff and left.” Repton said the mystery man did not want his work to be commercialised.
Although she was unclear about the legality of spray-painting on the wall, Repton said she loved the eye-catching art, as did her patrons. “I have seen people walking past the art, taking pictures and admiring it. I love this sort of thing because we also have graffiti in our bar.
“I tried to track the guy down to do some work for us, without much luck.
“The interesting thing is that there are other pieces popping up on the wall.”
Richmond Hill resident Hanna Kotze said although just about anything on the “ugly wall” would improve its look in its current state, she was confused about the meaning of the art.
“The point about graffiti is that it is supposed to provide commentary. This work, unfortunately, does not do that and for me its message is lost in a way.”
The motive behind the work was unclear to her but she found it rather decorative in style.