Landscape murals brighten Portland park

Jeremy Appollis, from Westgate, and Richard Hendricks, from Portland, in front of one of their murals.

Colourful landscape murals have sprung up on walls surrounding Ontario Park in Portland.

They are the work of Richard Hendricks, 65, a former City of Cape Town employee, who lives near the municipal park, and artist Jeremy Appollis, 60, of Westgate, whom Mr Appollis got to know while he was still working for the council.

Mr Hendricks said they wanted to create a beautiful and safe place for children to play at the park.

“Some neighbours come out here daily to just look at the pictures, and they said it makes them feel better,” he said.

The two pensioners have been using their own money and time to paint the boundary walls, but residents have been buying paint to support them.

Gregory van der Zandt, who lives across from the park, said people from outside of the area were coming to take pictures of the murals.

“We want them to know it can be done in their areas. We want to share the painters’ skills and talent,” he said.

Mr Appollis said he and Mr Hendricks hoped to paint similar murals in other parks.

“Landscapes, seascapes and riverscapes calm the person looking at the pictures,” he said.

Sakeena Moyce, the principal of an educare near the park, has asked the men to paint the outside and inside walls of her school.

“We love nature. We are very impressed with their work,” she said.

Moejahied Levy, the principal of a Qur’an memorisation school across from the park, said they would like to enclose the park and bar bad elements from abusing the amenity.

“We appreciate what they have done. The artwork is beautiful. We, as the community, need to look after it. We want to have the space enclosed so we can preserve this,” he said.

Ward councillor Goawa Timm said some gym equipment had been budgeted for the park this financial year, but there were no funds to enclose parks.

“Ward allocation funds have to be spread thinly across parts of Portland, Lentegeur and Westridge. If we do it for the one then we must do it for all of the parks. R1 million ward allocation is not enough to enclose one park,” she said.

Ms Timm said the council had supported Hendricks and Mr Appollis with small contributions of paint.