Ace curator Jacki Lang and I are doing a Broken Monsters Charity Art Show for an excellent cause, kids lit NGO, Bookdash with over a hundred stellar South African artists creating an original work on a page ripped out of my novel, Broken Monsters.
There will be two exhibitions on 12 November in Cape Town and 26 November in Joburg, thanks to the support of Nando’s (yep, the chicken people who also have an Arts Trust).
The art work will sell for R1500 each, limited to one piece per person* and all proceeds will go to Bookdash to enable them to print books for kids in the major South African languages. Each art work sold for R1500 will pay for the printing of 150 books!
The books, written and illustrated by amazing local writers and illustrators, who gave of their time for free, will be distributed through top-rated literacy organizations to kids who need them. To kids who have never owned their own book!
All the BookDash books are also available free on their website for anyone to read, download, print out and even sell (yep, really, you can photocopy them and sell them to your friends right now), because founder Arthur Atwell feels as strongly as I do about reading – that it should be available to everyone.
We’ve seen a lot of student activism in the last couple of weeks around tertiary education, which is inspiring and important. We also need to address the crisis of primary school education.
Literacy is critical. The reason our matrics are failing? Because they didn’t get the early childhood development they needed. Neil Gaiman gave an amazing talk a few years ago about the importance of reading and how US private prisons predict their future prison population 15 years from now based on a very simple algorithm: what percentage of 10 and 11 year olds can’t read.
Reading is also about understanding the world and who we are in it. Stories allow us to live other lives, to spend time in someone else’s head, to feel empathy.
Stories allow to be more than we are.
It’s a big theme in Broken Monsters – the doors in our heads. So BookDash felt like the perfect charity partner. What could be better than using a book to create accessible art to fund more stories with art that become accessible books in the hands of kids?
Two years ago, Jacki and I put together The Shining Girls Charity Art Show for Rape Crisis. Well, really she put it together, I just came up with the idea. We had 95 works of art that sold for R1000 each and a queue that ran down five flights of stairs. We raised R100 000 in twenty minutes, which was the time it took the show to sell out. (I threw in the last R5000 to make it a nice round number).
This time, we’re hoping to have double the art work, raise double the amount of money.
We’re so grateful to all the artists who have given their time and creativity. Your generosity means a lot.
*Sorry hardcore collectors, you can only buy one piece. A big part of why we’re doing this exhibition as a sale rather than an auction is to make art accessible to people who might not normally be able to afford it. The art will be up anonymously, so you should buy something you really love. There will also not be any previews and we’re not taking any reservations, so please don’t ask.
Get into the spirit of the thing, come buy beautiful work by incredible local talent, buy some books, and celebrate with us!