The Shining Girls Charity Art Show Raises R100 000 For Rape Crisis
Ninety-five artworks, depicting around 50 South African artists' interpretations of themes from author Lauren Beukes' novel
The Shining Girls, formed part of an exhibition and sale to raise funds for Rape Crisis in South Africa.
With the release of each of her novels author Lauren Beukes has organised a charity event to raise funds for a cause that she considers particularly important. In 2010, for example, after the publication of Zoo City
, she organised a charity auction of five customised bear sculptures
. This year, in honour of her latest novel The Shining Girls
, Lauren and curator Jacki Lang put together an art show to benefit Rape Crisis
The result was The Shining Girls
Charity Art Show, which was held last month, in an exhibition space at the Cape Town School Of Photography
, on the day before the Open Book Festival started. It then ran as an exhibition for another week to give people the chance to view the collection during the course of the festival.
Around 50 artists created 95 artworks for the show out of pages taken from copies of The Shining Girls
, which Lauren and Jacki had sent to them. Before sending the pages the two took out the most violent ones, to ensure that no art would be created that might misunderstand the message in the book, which seeks to examine the horror of violence against women from the perspective of the victim and not glorify it from the perspective of the perpetrator, based on a misinterpretation of a sentence on the page.
Artists were then sent pages randomly, bar a few, such as Wilhelm Kruger, Faith 47, and Gerhard Human, who requested specific pages as they had particular pieces in mind that they wanted to create.
The following is a selection of the works that were on display, with some close-up details of a few of the pieces to highlight some of the materials that were used, as well as give a better understanding of the artists' intentions. I also asked four of the artists to tell me a bit more about the pieces that they created.
"I took a phrase from the page I was given where a character is teasing a
girl about what she wants to be one day, and her answer is "a tightrope
walker", revealing her dreams and aspirations, perhaps in a metaphor? The
pony ears refer to the pony [toy] that appears in the book."
-- Alex Hamilton
, who creates stencilled pop art
. He made the tightrope stencilled design (pictured on the right, above, and also used in a second piece) specifically for this art exhibition.
"'And now I will be zee Glow Butterfly,' Miss Jeanette Klara (aka the Glow Girl) says in The Shining Girls
. When I first read the book I loved her character, as well as the time period in which she lived - the 1930s. The image of the petite French dancer cavorting on stage with her butterfly wings was so vivid. When designing and illustrating the covers for The Shining Girls
I got to explore that in a subtle way. This exhibition allowed me to explore her character further, however, so I decided to illustrate what I imagined a 1930s style poster for one of her shows at Kansas Joe's would look like."
-- Joey Hi-Fi
, who, as he mentioned, also designed the covers
for both of the South African print editions of the book.
"The piece I did for The Shining Girls
[pictured above, bottom row, far right] is actually very closely related to the page I did it on. It's about the main character, Kirby, and there's a section on the page where she has to remove her boots to go through a prison security check. I drew Kirby the way that I pictured her while I was reading the book; punkish rebel-of-a-girl with dark hair and a little bit of an attitude. She wears her background (history) as a heavy scar. (Literally and figuratively - I opted for covering her with tattoos instead of actual scars, the story from the book making up the markings. Her story.)
"But most of all I drew her as a confident individual. Even though she's a victim, she wears her markings openly. Keeping her confidence."
-- Gerhard Human
[pictured below], who created the piece using calligraphy ink.
Gerhard recently collaborated
with Lauren Beukes on the story Birdie
, which has been included in the first issue of a new a comic anthology published by DC's Vertigo: The Witching Hour
"I chose to depict hands as they are the instruments of abuse or self-abuse in the context of The Shining Girls
. I also wanted to play on duality - are they the hands of the victim or culprit? Using silver is an obvious nod to the title but also acts as veneer that lulls one into a 'false' sense of beauty."
-- Brandt Botes
, who created three pieces for the show.
This piece by Ed Young
has a particularly interesting story. Lauren had attended his one-night show Asshole
[link NSFW] in 2004 and was very unimpressed with it. "Buckets of KFC, buckets of Heineken, strippers. That was it," says Lauren.
In response she criticised it in a throwaway line in one of her short stories. To her surprise, Ed expressed interest in participating in this art show so they sent him a page. Instead of creating an artwork he burnt the page and sent the ashes back in a can so the team then created this piece, which is a very apt metaphor for some of the themes in The Shining Girls
, from the ashes.
As Lauren says: "Generous revenge is the best kind."
On the opening night each visitor was only allowed to buy one of these 95 pieces, each priced at R1000 and (technically) anonymous to make it about the art and not the artist, by placing his or her name underneath it to mark it as sold. The event was so popular that the queue to get in ran about three floors down the stairwell before the show had even opened and almost all the artworks were sold within 45 minutes. Lauren threw in an extra R5000 to make it an even R100 000 [convert
], all of which has now been donated to Rape Crisis.
Not only was this a very successful fund-raising initiative at a packed, fun event but it was a wonderful, collaborative, generous exercise by the arts community in South Africa as each artist contributed a piece - or, in some cases, up to three pieces - for free, investing their time and talents to aid a very worthy cause.
Lauren's next novel, which is set in Detroit and features murders with an occult twist, will be published next year. Not only am I looking forward to reading the book but I can't wait to see the charity project that will be accompanying it.