The Wilds is a 40 acre park and nature reserve close to the inner city of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was derelict and abandoned 9 years ago, when I began a clean-up which grew into a volunteer-driven restoration, transorming this historic space into a sanctuary for nature, enjoyed by an extraordinary diversity of people.
It has gone from being a space feared by the residents of the city, to the top-rated park in the city, and the winner of several awards.
One of the key elements used to bring people back to the park has been the installation of artworks, which I began by donating my own sculptures, and since grown to include many other artists. We have found that mosaic works very well - it's brightly coloured, hardy in this outdoor environment, and benefits many emerging artists. And, we can commission designs which put a spotlight on local wildlife and flora, bringing an educational element - the park is visited by thiousands of children every month, and this is a visual way to teach them.
The Wilds is a public park, free of charge to everyone, open every day of the year, and owned by Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo. The Friends of The Wilds is a registered non-profit, and enables specialist improvement projects in this public space.
Fondos becados por Awesome Without Borders (September 2023)