Bold murals brighten up Humewood Beach Bridge
Municipal project to boost Bay’s image as a tourism destination
The brightly coloured painting of the corrugated concrete slabs under the Humewood Beach Bridge at Happy Valley already has people talking in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The murals — which will be lit up with UV black light bulbs — will make a bold statement to boost the city’s image as a tourism destination, with the bridge getting a much-needed facelift, which includes fixing the lights.
Economic development and tourism acting executive director Wandisile Makwabe said the area was a key tourist attraction.
“This is not just for beach activities but also as an entertainment venue for events and conferences that also contribute to tourism revenue generation.”
He said a contractor was hired, along with two artists.
The mural comes after the municipality called for artwork submissions that highlight the city’s unique, iconic marine life through a simplistic and attractive design that is easy to maintain.
As a reward, the municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay tourism industry put together a prize for the winner.
The overall winner, Logan Ramage, was selected by the judges on April 1 with his design used as inspiration for the final mural.
“The design had to consider the overall maritime tourism resources available within the Bay, and also it had to work on the corrugated concrete panels,” Makwabe said.
“Furthermore, the overall design needed to be easy to maintain, in case of vandalism, with touch-up paint.
“We received some great ideas, with Ramage being declared the winner after looking at and considering all the design considerations.
“We would like to however thank everyone for all the submissions and effort put into the contributions.”
Makwabe said after seeing the submissions, it was decided the Bay had an opportunity to create a unique space in the city.
“The suggestion that came through was that the department looks at a concept where we can illuminate the artwork to create an experience as well as draw potential positive PR,” he said.
It was then decided to incorporate an interactive, entertaining and educational “glow-in-the-dark” UV mural to promote key tourism icons within Nelson Mandela Bay.
“These considerations were discussed with the contractor and we decided to implement something very unique that can be maintained at a relatively low cost.”
The artwork covers three themes, which incudes the region’s marine heritage and biodiversity, Algoa Bay Islands and The Big 7 which is the Great White shark, Southern-right whale, African Elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.
isiXhosa-themed marine elements will also be added to the pillars under the bridge.
Makwabe said UV black light bulbs would be used.
“The UV paint and black lights will create an exciting feel and atmosphere to the area, highlight our marine experiences and add value to the area as a venue for evening functions.
“The additional lighting and foot traffic will also help address the safety concerns some residents might have.”
Economic development and tourism political head Siyasanga Sijadu said the project aimed to encourage residents and visitors to share their experiences on social media.
“The role of a destination’s image is of vital importance in attracting more visitors to the city, the warm and welcoming atmosphere of a destination also plays an important role in shaping the overall image of the destination.”
She said the murals offered the opportunity to tell the city’s story by creating a unique experience.
“Tourism is a key economic driver for the city and key in the creation of more sustainable jobs.
“With the devastating effects of Covid-19 this project not only seeks to promote our unique marine biodiversity and ocean heritage but also to bring some excitement and smiles to the faces of our children and their families — basically brightening the mood,” she said.
•This article is in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality
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