I started taking photos of graffiti in and around the Woodstock neighbourhood two years ago. There are new ones being painted all the time. They often depict the cruelty of the world, or meditate on the theme of good versus evil.
Photo by Jose Romeu de Abreu.
During the Apartheid era, white and black people, Portuguese and Greek people, Jewish people, etc, all lived side by side in Woodstock. Newly-arrived immigrants could find cheap lodging there. It was a poor neighbourhood known for having drug dealers on every corner. Granted, the drug dealers are still there today, but the neighbourhood is undergoing rapid change – it is now also home to office buildings, cafés and rather chic boutiques. Lofts are being built in old warehouses. Today, rich and poor live together in Woodstock.
Local residents love Ricky Lee’s project, because the works of art are realistic and meaningful. They also appreciate the fact that he gets the neighbourhood’s children involved; this gives them something to do and keeps them off the streets.