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Lauren Beukes

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Bare-ing all for a good cause

Bares 1

When Moxyland launched in South Africa in 2008, we did a range of Moxy toys based on Michelle Son‘s handmade critter (conceptualised by Joey Hi-Fi) featured on the cover.


The toys were made by a women’s empowerment collective Sarah Lotz and her mom, Carol Walters, set up specifically for the job.

We raised R12 000 for them and the Montagu Sew & Sews have since gone on to other projects, including making toys for kids books.

With the launch of Zoo City, I wanted to do something similar and design collective Am I Collective came to the rescue by donating five of their signature blank vinyl toy Bares.

The Bares were assigned to six hot local designers, with only a month to decorate their Bares any way they liked as long as it was somehow inspired by the novel.

Lauren Beukes with a Bare

The results were cooler than I could have imagined, from a streetwise thuglife old man Bare to a monstrous muti murder creature, to an African mask-inspired barn owl, an ornamental teal bare of innards and songbirds and a girl with a dark side and a light and a sloth on her back and demonlings in her shadow.

Suitcase Stories I also found the perfect charity. Zoo City is set in Hillbrow and deals with refugee life as one of its themes.

All proceeds from the sale of The Bares will go to The Suitcase Project which helps refugee children from war-torn African countries that have arrived in Johannesburg without parents, friends or family. The Suitcase Project tries to help them deal with the trauma of their flight and arriving in a strange, sometimes hostile adoptive country.

Even better, it got its start as a creative counseling project, helping traumatised kids tell their stories by decorating a suitcase. (Buy the book: The Suitcase Stories here) So decorating Bares to help raise money for them seemed like the perfect fit!

UPDATE: The auction is now live! Visit Bid Or Buy and search “zoo city bares”.

The Bares are currently being exhibited in three cities:
Joburg: Muti Monster and Borne are at Rhinestone Cowboy
Cape Town: Nonnetjie and Pretty Wise are at Exclusive Books, Kloof Street
London: Bi-Polar Bare is on display at the Forbidden Planet Megastore

Here’s more on the designers involved and detailed pics:

Bares 2

1 PRETTY WISE – Clement de Bruin
Clem’s Bare is an old man living on the street with his spirit animal owl. Clem takes his inspiration from the streets of his city, reading books and observing his surroundings. He works at Am I Collective.

Bares - Nonnetjie

2 NONNETJIE – Elise Wessels
Elise’s Bare is a female voodoo spirit of the Barn Owl, also known by its Afrikaans name as Nonnetjies Uil. 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. Both designers currently work at am i collective.

Bares - Borne

3 BORNE – Carine Nguz and Bia van Deventer
Originally from the DRC, Carine Nguz is an award-winning graphic designer. Now based in Cape Town, she works on creative projects for a range of clients.

Bia van Deventer thrives on diversity, working in as many mediums and styles as possible to keep her interested and challenged.

Bares - Bi-polar Bare

4 BI-POLAR BARE – Willeen le Roux
Willeen le Roux, a graphic designer and illustrator, loves words, whimsy and wonder. She has a range of high- profile clients but is best known for her quirky homeware range Die Spens.

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 (including Zoo City), logos, comics and T-shirts for the likes of New Statesman, Bizarre Magazine, Hilfiger Denim and Wired Magazine UK.

Book details


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>
    June 9th, 2010 @16:21 #
    Top is thrilled to be hosting the Zoo City Bares auction! It's for such a good cause - we're sure bidorbuyers will pitch in with generous bids.


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