The idea behind Wet Paint is having a unique art installation in public that encourages social distancing but not anti-social behaviour—that’s the key here. Eight locally-made Pedersen & Lennard benches, which have since been donated to the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, were placed in and around Johannesburg in open public spaces. Artworks were painted onto the benches by the two artists. The catch, however, was in the “wet paint” sign that was placed above each bench to indicate to anyone wanting to take a seat to be cautious and thus distance themselves from anyone else potentially joining them. In reality, the artworks had completely dried down already.
Curious Lauren and Baba Tjeko, each with distinct artistic styles, came together through King James, the agency responsible for the campaign for Stella Artois, according to Baba Tjeko. The artist is known for portraying African ideas and perspectives through his Litema artwork, a form of Basotho mural art composed of decorative geometric patterns. Curious Lauren, on the other hand, contrasts serious messages with a bright, bold and inviting execution style that remains accessible in spite of the juxtaposition. She comments on her collaboration with Baba Tjeko saying, “We both pride ourselves on doing creative work for good; it was an otherwise unlikely pairing that lead to some extraordinary work together.” She goes on to add, “We both use storytelling as a method of expression and this project was no different.”