Gift shop: A4em prints. Art For Change – limited edition of lino prints by feminist and activist, Carin Bester, South Africa, released November 2020

Fine art prints: A4em prints/Art For Change Artist: Carin Bester Country: South Africa Edition: Limited edition portfolio of lino prints Portfolio: Four images/prints: Panties, Vaginxs, My Body and Patriarchy Number: 50 x A4 prints for each image- buy as singles or purchase the portfolio/set Paper: Fabriano (acid free, handmade paper) Signed: Signed, numbered and dated by artist  Dimensions: A4 – 30 x 21 cm Prices: R450 per print or R1 550 for a set of 4 –ie the entire portfolio. Beneficiary: 50% of proceeds to The Wise Collective (advocacy organisation) Format: Unframed. Delivery not included To order:  E-mail or social media

Cape Town artist and creative, Carin Bester is a feminist and activist who is committed to creating awareness around GBV (Gender Based Violence). On August 1 this year [2020], during the national lockdown in South Africa, Bester live streamed, She had a name, a durational performance (eight hours), on her Facebook page. See below for link to interview. The struggle continues to create awareness around GBV and Bester has released a Fine Art portfolio of four limited edition lino prints: A4em prints/Art For Change.

There are fifty prints of each image – on Fabriano paper (acid free, handmade paper) – signed, dated and numbered. Once the prints are gone, they are gone. No, she cannot print more. Fifty of each means fifty and that is the limit. That is how a Fine Art portfolio operates. In the age digital media and of print-on-demand, the artist is hand printing each image and signing and dating each one – by hand.

Within the gravitas of her gaze on GBV, Bester brings in a terrific playfulness, irony and mirth into the series, beautifully articulated through line. My favourite is Panties: “Put on Your Big Girl… and deal with them.” Bester reflects: This phrase as always had two meanings to me. One: It is just about being brave and dealing with difficulties in life. However, it also has a negative meaning; a way in which womxn are told to just deal with it when they are treated unfairly, seen as the lessor, spoken down to…The big boss speaks down to women. He makes an inappropriate remark, but because he is the man with the money you are told to ‘put on your big girl panties and deal with it.’ Like ‘grow up it’s part of life, there is nothing you can do about it’ and it is in response to this way of using the phrase that I created the ‘deal with them’ As an activist I strongly believe that womxn should be encouraged to stand up for themselves, stand up against the oppression in all areas of life: Put on your big girl panties and deal with them. The patriarchal oppressors, the perpetrators, the toxically masculine men who believe they are better than womxn”

I love Bester’s image- a panty with its little bow. It resonates with me as South Africa’s Woolworths is renowned for its panties (no this is not product placement). Expat South Africans yearn for packs of cotton Woolies panties. That is on the shopping list when they head here for the holidays. What would you like me to send I ask friends abroad? The answer: “Please send Woolies panties. There is nothing like Woolies panties”. We are famous for Woolies panties with bows and trimmings but juxtaposed with that is the fact that, SA is reported to have the highest rate of GBV in the world. Panties are ripped off women, bows are shredded. Women are violated. The phrase: “Put on your big girl panties” is about taking ownership – donning the panties – and as Bester says- dealing with what whatever comes your way. It is also a reflection on how women are dismissed and objectified- and framed as objects of desire, possession and ownership. Bester nails this in her Panty drawing.

Regarding the title of the portfolio, A4em prints, Bester explains, “It is a play on them being size A4 and fem prints.” Art for Change is self-explanatory. It is art for change. Bester is donating 50% of proceeds to The Wise Collective. Bester: “The Wise Collective is an advocacy organization and social enterprise initiated by African women whose sole purpose is to bring innovative solutions to the market that will prevent and address challenges in advancing women’ safety from gender-based violence an overall oppression from patriarchy.” Carin Bester’s A4em prints/Art For Change portfolio is a meaningful and wonderful gift for the festive season- powerful, beautifully drawn and imaged: R1 550 for a set of 4 –ie the entire portfolio- or R450 for singles

Panties: Part of the A4em prints/Art For Change limited edition portfolio of lino prints by South African feminist and artist, Carin Bester. There are four images/prints in the portfolio. Each image has been printed by hand by Bester on Fabriano paper. There are 50 prints of each image, signed, numbered and dated. Buy as singles or purchase the portfolio of four images.

A4em prints/Art For Change limited edition portfolio of lino prints by South African feminist and artist, Carin Bester. There are 50 prints of each image, signed, numbered and dated, printed on Fabriano paper. Buy as singles or purchase the portfolio of four images. Release date: November 2020.

To order A4em/Art For Change prints from Carin Bester and to find out more about her work

E-mail: Instagram: @bestercarin Facebook: Twitter: @BesterCarin Payment options: Includes Snapscan, EFT    

She had a name: Carin Bester’s durational performance went out as as a live stream (eight hours) on August 1, 2020 . “In the statistical year for 2018/19, 2 771 womxn were killed in South Africa.”  Bester typed out “She had a name” – 2 771 times on a typewriter. About the typewriter, Bester says: “It’s an old Remington typewriter. It still has its box and is in perfect condition. I bought it about 15 years ago in Pretoria at a house content auction and I have always loved this machine. I have used it a lot. I was very excited to use it in a performance. In the piece [She had a name], there was/is a connection with womxn in work and the patriarchal society- womxn did mostly secretarial work. Nowadays, even for those who have come far, for womxn, the patriarchal society and mentality still persists. There is the sound that the typewriter makes [cliclkety-clack] and that strong sound came across during the performance; the continued sound of the clacking. 

Related coverage on Carin Bester, on TheCapeRobyn