South African artist Faith XLVII (read as Faith 47) is the first woman and only South African artist to feature on the Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition Series.
At the recent launch held in Braamfontein, she revealed the mural which accompanies the bottle that was unveiled in 2020.
“With my new mural, I salute the woman of Johannesburg. The woman who has to navigate this great city, with its booming culture and bustling streets. Who has to earn a living, often supporting others while still keeping her mind focused on her dreams and abilities. Who deals with the constant struggle of staying safe while still striving to be liberated and independent. This woman is my hero of Johannesburg and this great land,” she said.
She added: “This land of Johannesburg is so strong. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s a place that holds deep reservoirs of culture. It’s got a definite edge. There’s a soul here, and every time I spend time in this city, I’m filled with an energy that sparks me on in my understanding of life. Painting in Johannesburg is something that I do with sheer dedication to the residents of the city.”
On being the first woman to feature on the Hennessy artist collaboration series, Faith said: “I started in graffiti, and that was male-dominated, and I think we all have to challenge the status quo. I’ve always enjoyed challenging the status quo.”
She continued: “I’ve always loved public arts specifically because it’s part of real-life and it affects people’s day-to-day lives, and it changes the way we feel. We constantly try to add arts and culture into cities so that people feel inspired and they feel that they’re part of the city, and they engage in public life and have some personal engagement.”
Other artists who have designed bottles for the brand include Kaws (2011), Futura (2012) OS Gemeos (2013), Shepard Fairey (2014), Ryan Mcginnes (2015), Scott Campbell (2016), Jonone (2017) Vhils (2018) and Pantone (2019).
Khomotso Ledwaba, brand manager for Hennessy SA, said: “As an artist, activist and game-changer in her field, Faith XLVII builds on our long-standing commitment to forging ties with pioneers of urban culture. It has been a privilege to work with her and to reflect on the artistic synergies between both herself as an artist and us as a brand. It’s an important moment for us in our ongoing effort to partner with artists who are part of a global movement.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with this global talent. Who better than Faith XLVII, a fellow South African and embodiment of our Never Stop. Never Settle brand philosophy to complete the Mural Trilogy.”
With Faith back home for a little while, she will also be hosting a solo exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery, in Cape Town, on May 5.
“The exhibition is called ‘Chant’. It was set for April beginning of last year but had to be paused because of the lockdown, but now it’s finally happening. It’s kind of based on this idea of momentum of events be it natural disasters, political crises, infrastructure issues, personal problems. Like all the things that we as individuals have to deal with, and it’s like happenings and dealing with that on a personal level and still maintaining,” she said.
Faith XLVII has had exhibitions in Miami, New York City, London and Johannesburg, where she uses art to tackle human rights, spiritual endurance and social issues.