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17-year-old street artist making waves in Wilderness

In the group photograph from left to right are Kaelyn Haffern, Jemma Kelly, Cllr Marlene Barnardt, Susan Burger ( WRRA Exco) and Joletta Eichweber (WRRA Exco).

George Municipality approved the Visual Artwork Management Policy this year and was thrilled when Kaelyn Haffern, a 17-year-old student at Glenwood House High in George and street artist, approached the George Municipality and the Wilderness Ratepayers and Residents Association (WRRA) offering her time and talent towards beautifying some of the building exteriors on Station Road leading to Leentjiesklip beach, Wilderness.

“The wilderness is such a beautiful place, and I felt the buildings around and in it needed to reflect the natural beauty. Art not only brings people together but also impacts the mood of a person walking past. I wanted to try to make the Wilderness a brighter place. Painting makes me happy and watching the impact art can have on the people around it, is really moving. I wanted to give back to the beautiful place I call home and help others appreciate it as much as I do,” said Kaelyn. Her artistic journey began at the age of 6 under the guidance of renowned artist Arabella Leggat in Johannesburg. The family relocated to Wilderness in 2022 and Kaelyn firmly believes that art has the power to make communities stronger by encouraging creativity, expression, and unity. In 2018, she created a whale-themed calendar with artwork that was sold in a Plettenberg Bay whale safari shop to raise awareness about whale poaching.

Kaelyn is passionate about community building and has a strong commitment to environmental causes participating in the Wildlife Conservation Schools Art Challenge, winning the runner-up award. Her winning submission was showcased at the Wilderness Art Festival in April 2023. Exploring various artistic media is Kaelyn’s forte, and she is excited to bring her street art inspired creativity to the George Municipal initiative.

Ward Councillor Marlene Barnardt was thrilled at Kaelyn’s offer to upgrade the look of the wall and substation along Station Road. “ The road takes a lot of traffic to Leentjiesklip and is incredibly busy during season. Upgrading it is definitely adding some holiday zing! If you haven’t taken a drive on Station Road in the last week, please do so! And take a look at what can be achieved by people who take the initiative to actually be the change they want to see in our beautiful Wilderness village!”

Cllr Barnardt thanked Director for Human Settlements, Planning and Development, Lauren Waring who assisted Kaelyn through the municipal approval processes required by the Visual Arts Management Policy as well as Susan Burger of the WRRA who arranged for the sponsorship of the paint. Follow Kaelyn’s artistic adventures on Instagram @ArtByKae.h

On ladder Kaelyn Haffern and in front Jemma Kelly.