These brightly coloured works make you see when your eyes have long been glazed over by the dirt and noise, and need to watch your back while keeping an eye on the path ahead for errant taxi drivers, missing grates and cellphone-loving opportunists.
We take to the scrapmobile (a Mini Cooper heaving with stitchwork, and many random items bought from street vendors – under my foot I retrieve a large wooden spoon) and head into the city. I learn that foodbabysoul is American, a “trailing wife” as she puts it, transplanted to Joburg, on a spouse visa so without a permit to work.
An artist, she volunteered at her child’s suburban school to design costumes for school plays. That led her to volunteer at a poor school, which drew her to her current thinking. “I didn't want to do good. I wanted to act.” In turn this led her out onto the streets where she fabric-bombed trees. This was how she connected with Fassler, who saw her work and wanted her own trees adorned.
Her philosophy of “scrap impact” developed as she moved from suburbia to the city with the idea that “giving should be difficult”. With so much need on every street corner giving should mean you can’t just pop a coin into an outstretched hand and move on.
I accompany her to Newtown’s Mary Fitzgerald Square where we spot one of her jaunty bowties on a street sculpture. The knitted hats she placed on Newtown’s wooden heads have long gone and we hope to spot someone wearing one on this winter’s morning. Her trademark red heart is stitched onto them.