The Shining Girls online exhibition: Part 1

WORDS Lauren Beukes PRODUCTION Chantel Hans

As you may have read in our SPRINGLOADED VISI 68, Lauren Beukes staged a charity art show in aid of Rape Crisis, following the success of her book The Shining Girls. With all the works snapped up in 20 minutes, VISI felt that the exhibition needed to be shared with far more people, as well as a place to live together and so we have coordinated this online extension. Lauren also shared her thoughts with us:

You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words; in this case the exchange rate worked out about one to one. My 90 000 word novel, The Shining Girls, translated into R95 000 raised for Rape Crisis in 20-minutes flat through the sales of original artworks created by major local talents on a page ripped from the book. 

I dreamed up the idea, in keeping with the charity art projects I’ve done to tie in with all my novels, but never on this scale. The show was curated by Jacki Lang who wrangled 67 artists, from Zapiro to Conrad Botes and Sindiso Nyoni to street artists like DalEast and Faith47, as well as designers, illustrators and even jewellers, Philippa Green and Ida Elsje; found us a gallery space at the Cape Town School of Photography; and organised sponsorship from Pick’n’Pay, Genevieve MCC and Carola Koblitz to cover the niggly hard costs.

The final show featured 95 original artworks donated by the artists that ranged from the most simplistic, like Cameron Platter’s Fuck Rape, to elaborate craftsmanship that engaged directly with the book, like Willeen le Roux’s keyhole light box or Jesse Breytenbach’s laser-cut three dimensional butterflies.  

Every work was democratically priced at R1 000 each, whether by a major artist or a young up-and-coming to ensure that the artwork was accessible to all. Buyers were also restricted to one purchase only, which meant that people started queuing up two hours before the exhibition opened and when we finally opened the doors, the line snaked down four flights of stairs!

It was a beautiful thing and a poignant reminder, for me, that it’s good to get angry about the terrible things that happen in the world, it’s good to voice that anger, in a novel or a tweet and we can also take action. 

Rape Crisis requires R8-million a year to run. Last year, they got R46 000 from private donors. This year, they’ve had people donate R800 000, moved by the relentless news stories of horrific violence against women that have come up through 2013. You can make a difference. If you missed the exhibition, you can donate to Rape Crisis or join The Thousand Hearts Campaign  for a R100 a month to support the difficult and vital work they do.

The first part of the exhibition showing in the gallery above includes work by Claudette Schreuders, Brett Murray, Conrad Botes, Ed Young, Adam Hill, Alex Hamilton, Beth Diane Armstrong, Daniel Ting Chong, Gabrielle Graaff, Black Koki, Ello, Helen Pritchard, Brandt Botes, Alex Latimer, Faith47, DALeast, Chad Rossouw, David Brits, Frank van Reenen, Emma Cook, Galia Gluckman, Jade Klara, Gerhard Human, Jordan Metcalf, Hannelie Taute, Gemma Orkin, Joey Hi-Fi, Heath Nash, Gareth Owen, Jesse Breytenbach and Cathy Abraham.

Browse Part 2 of The Shining Girls online exhibition here.