Bid On The Zoo City Bares
A brainwavez.org Literary Feature

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 4 August 2010
Category: Books > Features
Tags: #team_scripticon
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Celebrate the launch of Lauren Beukes' latest novel with a bid on an artwork in a collaborative project designed to generate funds for a very important South African initiative.

To celebrate the launch of her second novel, Zoo City, author Lauren Beukes teamed up with the am i collective, an illustration, design, and animation studio based in Cape Town, South Africa, to put together an arts project that not only highlights the themes in the book in an exciting visual manner but also gives back to the community.

The am i collective donated five blank vinyl Bares from its Bare Project for local designers to decorate with Zoo City as their inspirational theme. Each Bare is 40 centimetres (16 inches) high and the artists had only a month to complete the project. The result is five completely different artworks, each hinting at themes within the story (if you've read it you'll recognise them).

Each Bare is on auction until 10 August 2010 at bidorbuy. All the proceeds will go to the South African charity The Suitcase Project, which is an art-therapy initiative that helps children, notably refugee children living in South Africa, to heal from past psychological trauma through art therapy. The refugee children have all fled war-torn countries in Africa and have arrived in Johannesburg without parents, family, or a support system. Refugees, trauma, and adapting to hostile environments are notable themes in Zoo City, making this a very appropriate cause for fans of Lauren's book to support.

Zoo City Bares

The Bares on auction for this worthy cause are all quite startling, and not just because of their size. I've seen all of them in person and it's hard to describe the experience in words. All the designs are challenging and intricate. They force you to take a closer look, either to examine details or to ponder the artists' interpretations.

Here is some more information on each Bare and the group of artists, as well as direct links to each auction page.


"Bi-Polar Bare" By Willeen Le Roux

Willeen le Roux is a graphic designer and whimsical illustrator. She has a range of high-profile clients but is best known for her quirky homeware range Die Spens.
Contact: willeen [at] gmail [dot] com



"Borne" By Bia Van Deventer And Carine Nguz

"Despite life having taken its pound of flesh forcing us to offer pieces of ourselves like muti on the market we will find, after having peeled at the layers, a core which is essentially divine." -- Bia van Deventer and Carine Nguz

Originally from the DRC and based in Cape Town, Carine Nguz is an award-winning graphic designer. She works independently on creative projects for a diverse range of clients.
Contact: Official Site

As someone that thrives on diversity, graphic designer Bia van Deventer enjoys working in as many mediums and styles as possible, always keeping her interested and challenged.
Contact: Official Site



Muti Monster By Joey Hi-Fi

"The 'Muti Monster' Bare was inspired by one of the events in the novel: the mutilation of animal familiars for 'muti'. Thus the 'Muti Monster' is a grizzly loose collection of bones, animal parts (porcupine quills, severed bird wings, teeth, eyeballs), scalpels, urban debris, incisions, traditional healer pamphlets, snakes, and drops of liquid 'undertow' to name a few." -- Joey Hi-Fi

Joey Hi-Fi is the alter ego of illustrator and designer D. Halvorsen. Operating from his secret underground lair in Cape Town, he enjoys working on a variety of projects from book covers to logos, comics, T-shirts, and packaging for the likes of New Statesman, Angry Robot, Bizarre Magazine, Hilfiger Denim, ENI, FHM, and Wired UK. His work has been featured in Design Indaba magazine and Communication Arts and he designed the cover illustration for the South African edition of Zoo City.
Contact: Official Site



"Nonnetjie" By Elise Wessels

Elise Wessels is an illustrator who is based in Cape Town and is currently employed at the am i collective. Finding inspiration in the ethnic art of Africa, her work is filled with a dark magic, drawing on the rich visual heritage of this continent. This Bare is a female voodoo spirit of the barn owl, also known by its Afrikaans name nonnetjie uil.
Contact: Official Site



"Pretty Wise" By Clement De Bruin

Clement de Bruin grew up in the small town of Ceres, a few hours' drive from Cape Town, but now lives and works in the city as an illustrator for the am i collective. He finds inspiration for his work in the streets of his city.
Contact: Official Site


Zoo City is speculative fiction set in present-day Johannesburg, South Africa. The derogatory term "zoos" is used to describe people from all over the world who have committed a past evil deed, the result of which is the acquisition of a magic ability and an animal familiar that is forever bonded with the "zoo". As long as the animal is kept alive the Undertow, an indescribable manifestation of the tunnel to hell (possibly - it is still being studied, analysed, investigated, and pontificated), is kept at bay and the "zoo" remains alive.

(That's the easy way to describe it - here's the trailer:)


Lauren's intention is to raise R10 000 (around $1300) for The Suitcase Project, which is a significant amount that can do a lot of good. So far, however, the combined bids are already totalling nearly R7000, with six days to go, so it's very likely that the goal will be surpassed. If you've been thinking of investing in art this year, this selection of Bares will be a great start - please visit the auction pages and bid generously!

Make sure you read all the shipping information at the bottom of each auction page. The five Bares are currently in three different cities (Cape Town, Johannesburg, and London), so your cheapest option, should that be an issue for you, is to bid on the Bare that's closest to you.

For more information on the auction, the charity, and
Zoo City read Lauren's comprehensive blog post. The auction closes on 10 August 2010.


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