The Shining Girls Charity Art Show for Rape Crisis has its opening at the Cape Town School of Photography on Friday. Curator Jacki Lang wrote a guest post for me about the experience of putting together an art show with me on a whim and a shoe-string.
(And here’s some background on why I decided to do it: Total Book Desecration For A Totally Good Cause)
I first met Jacki when she was a designer at iJusi. She went on to do pop-up exhibitions with Kim Stern, like Aisle 5, in South Africa, selling affordable art from kick-ass artists (where I picked up my Conrad Botes/Brett Murray Boogie Light) and then in London, including charity events like Napkin.
She’s been away in London for many years, but I’m delighted that she’s back and was willing to come on board to wrangle this project, organising sponsorship, so all our proceeds could go to Rape Crisis, finding an appropriate gallery space that we could still be part of the Open Book Festival and approaching our dream artists. I came up with the idea, she’s done all the hard work. I’ll let her tell you about it.
I have always loved collaborating on exhibitions and working with like-minded art and design junkies to curate exhibitions of new work that will inspire people: shows that ideally mean something, are for a good cause or tell an important story. This opportunity, to work with Lauren to curate the Shining Girls Charity Art Show, encompassed all of those elements and I jumped at the opportunity.
The experience has been all-consuming and incredible. From the moment we drew up our wish list of artists and started spreading the word, the show has taken off and I’ve been blown away by people’s generosity, their support of our idea and their willingness to take part. Of course there were the slightly uphill treks – hunts for spaces and sponsorships and the brilliant young South African artists we were unable to access (because their galleries said “no thanks”, or because they were being famous and fabulous somewhere else in the word – which we love them for). But all in all this was overshadowed by people who have been amazing and are enabling us to pull it all off on a shoestring.
Well, lets wait until Friday when we open the doors of the show before we say we’ve pulled it off, right?
I have even been fortunate enough to discover hidden parts of Cape Town below ground level and on roof tops in the emerging design-focused Fringe district on a hunt for exhibition venues, and after being away in London for the last 8 years, it’s been a brilliant and inspiring intro back into my home town. Everyone’s doors are surprisingly open and the spirit of collaboration is definitely in the air.
Most remarkable have been the artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, jewelery designers – all of them unbelievable, all of them local and all of them at the top of their games. And all of them happy to create new magnificent pieces of work with nothing in it for them, except to gift the sales of their creations to Rape Crisis.
For me, watching the pieces trickling in, and seeing how each artist responded to the brief (customizing a torn page or two or three from The Shining Girls) has been overwhelming. Their time, effort and imagination is humbling and together the 60+ artists we have on board have created a collection of works on papers that have never been seen before and won’t exist as a group like this again. We’ve started framing the pieces and they all play so beautifully next to one another. There’s painting, embroidery, light boxes, leather, perspex, paper cutting, steelwork, spray painting… but now I’m giving it all away.
Come join us in the gorgeous light white gallery space at The Cape Town School of Photography, who have loaned us this haven for the show and who are photographing and documenting everything for us: the artworks, the process, the envelopes with scribbles on that the artists sent their work back in, and the remnants of book spines with pages violently ripped from them.
I have kept everything. This has been an experience worth capturing.
Join RapeCrisis’s Thousand Hearts Campaign here or on the night! For R100 a month, you can make a difference.