Give her a crown



In 2023, the campaign highlights how women use their inherent strength to not only empower themselves, but also uplift others. Six incredible female artists, each created a bespoke art piece that celebrates the exquisite details of women. Through the power of storytelling and the arts we encourage women across South Africa to not only see their exquisite details, but to also celebrate it.

The #CrownCollection2023 Artist Collective even went global, being celebrated at an art exhibition titled “Changing the narrative for women through the power of storytelling and the arts” in New York. Hosted by the South African Consulate General, the exhibition gave the Artists Collective the opportunity to attend and engage at this international level. Impact from 2023’s campaign resulted in a further 14 bursaries being awarded for female creatives studying through Inscape and BHC x Visi. As well as #GiveThemACrown workshops held in partnership with Lalela for over 120 learners.
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“I know too many women who have been abused, and I have known abuse myself. The devastation that it wreaks on women’s lives is unacceptable. I have also witnessed the tremendous courage, strength, resilience, and bravery in the woman’s soul. Given the opportunity to create an artwork that may open up conversation and allow women a safe space to share, connect, and celebrate their femininity is an opportunity that I could not turn down.”


In ‘Halo’ there is a circular, shiny, polished, flat plane of dot-dash patterning, constructed out of the dense mass of interconnecting rods behind it. The plane sits tilted at an angle so that the viewer can peer into it and reflect.

A halo embodies purity, as do all women in their shining glory put behind that, inside that, is a depth and complexity of stories – often untold – that make up the substance of who she is that keep her standing, hold her up. Her structure is in her experiences and stories. She shines because she is complex and strong.

The circle, a universal and sacred symbol, and all curving patterns are the symbols of the feminine, mother earth, and female power. Being infinite, having no beginning nor end, the circle is said to be the most creative form and embodies compassion and manifestation.

It represents a goddess, as well as being complete, whole, perfect, unified, divine, protecting, and containing. ‘Halo’ offers women space to reflect on their strength and purity and to celebrate their divine femininity. It encourages viewers to look beyond the surface and appreciate the complexity and depth of women’s experiences and stories, which contribute to their strength and resilience.

To truly understand and appreciate Beth’s work watch her artist film below.
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“Gender-based Violence is a pervasive problem that affects millions of people worldwide, with women and girls being disproportionately impacted. Supporting initiatives like Give Her A Crown, helps to address and reduce the prevalence of GBV in society.  Having lost my mother, Phumzile and my dear niece, Enhle, to GBV, I believe in initiatives that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place by addressing the root causes, promoting positive behavioural change and empowering women.”


Andy has a passion for creating opulent and lavish art pieces that embody the essence of luxury, based on Johannesburg, South Africa. Andy creates stunning pieces that evoke feelings of extravagance, pleasure and refinement.

“My pieces are a celebration of luxury, an ode to beauty and a testament to the human pursuit of excellence.” My piece is a combination of resin, plaster, acrylic paint and ink. The piece is inspired by the female form. The piece alternates from dark to light which represents the transformation from negativity to positivity.

In art, dark colours are often associated with negative emotions, sadness, fear and in this piece – abuse. Conversely, light colours are associated with positive emotions such as hope, peace and overcoming. All the colours diffuse around the female form, which symbolises female empowerment.

Overall, the dark to light symbol in this piece is a powerful way to represent the universal experience of overcoming negativity through female empowerment.

To truly understand and appreciate Andy’s work watch her artist film below and see how the magic unfolds. What inspires her and how she explores the depths of human experience.

View Andy’s work as part of the #CrownCollection2023 this year at The Melrose Gallery.
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“When I attended the protest march outside parliament  in 2019 after Uyinene Mrwetyana had been raped and murdered, what resonated with me was how resilient and empowered the women who spoke to the crowd were. They were also victims of GBV but their strength, defiance and determination to end GBV was striking. They had not been crushed. It was beautiful. A different kind of beauty. I felt proud of them and proud to be a woman. I was drawn to be part of the Give Her A Crown campaign because I want to honour the beauty of the resilience of GBV victims.”


Lara Klawikowski designs wearable art – bespoke womans wear handcrafted at her studio. Her designs are intriguingly tactile and artisanal, with a distinctive artistry, femininity, edge, and other-worldly beauty.

She employs unpredictable pattern-cutting and garment construction, organic draping and proportions. Her love for unusual detail, texture and innovative use of fabric has led to constant experimentation with recycled, upcycled and re-fabricated materials.

My design is inspired by the African daisy and how it curls its petals in times of drought to form funnels that capture rainwater more effectively. This adaptability and act of resilience and survival in times of hardship transforms the delicate daisy into a unique structure, making the flower perhaps even more beautiful and fascinating than before.

In the same way, I am inspired by the resilience of women and the unique and empowered beauty that emerges when a woman realises her own strength.

The design is a dress constructed of curled panels / petals made from recycled materials: re-fabricated matte charcoal spunbond and upcycled maroon cotton, attached to a central shield-like bust piece made from re-fabricated cotton fabric waste to mimic the crown of a daisy.

Watch how Lara unpacks her creative process if layering and building a pattern and print into recycled material used to create her range or women’s wear. Re-directing waste from a landfill into a beautiful piece of art.
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“I believe that women are strong. Not only spiritually, but physically as well. They have the ability to protect themselves, each other, children, nature and even men against harm. Give Her A Crown, for me, is a message through art from a woman who has been underestimated and won, to all women out there who are constantly needing to fight a battle to prove themselves. A message that says that she can be, and already is, not just the survivor, but the glorious victor of her story.“


In Ovid’s epic poem Metamorphosis, Daphne, the mythological water nymph of Arcadia, becomes a universal symbol of imperial power through victory. But not her own. Her transformation into a laurel tree to escape Apollo, causes her to lose her sense of self and her autonomy. The name “Daphne” is never mentioned in the poem again.

From a modern feminine perspective, I experience this tale as tragic, telling of masculinity conquering femininity and the strong subjugating the weak.

I felt the need to overturn the myth and decided to depict Daphne as a living woman, wearing instead of the traditional laurel wreath, her own wreath made from an abundance of iris flowers, as a strong feminine metaphor.

Iris flowers are associated with the goddess Iris in Greek mythology and were planted on the graves of women as an aid to guide them safely to heaven. They were also often used as a design motive during the Art Nouveau period – an age during which women started making noise and reactionary depictions of woman as femme fatale abounded.

Daphne’s new wreath signifies intrinsic strength, survival and new life. My Daphne is the author of her own life story.

Watch how Lena reveals how labour intensive her work is, and how it’s not you that chose art – it’s art that chose you!

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“Gender-based violence is a prevalent plague in our country, rooted in systematic inequality and patriarchal privilege. It has detrimental effects on an individual, their families and communities at large – not only physically but psychologically as well. Having grown up in an environment perpetuated by violence, I have a semblance of these effects and I can only imagine how bad it can be when it is experienced in its extreme form. I am inspired to be a part of this campaign because I believe that women embody a divine power that needs to be uplifted instead of being subdued. This campaign is close to my heart, one that deserves the nations’ constant attention and something I wanted to contribute to in my own little way.”


Shelley Mokoena has established her career through her creative quest for intentional art and design. She embodies an intrinsic and unique approach, rooted in the simplicity of the art of life and living. In 2019, Mokoena founded Connade. A Contemporary, Avant garde womenswear brand, with a sophisticated approach to understated detailing.

Her designs capture the aura of the women adorned through classic, statement and staple moments, complimented with organic forms to principle silhouettes that weave in structural design. Connade is inspired by forms of nature, heritage and expression, creating collections with a sublime impression of wearable art.

The enigmatic allure of the serpent, a symbolism of transformation, wisdom and mother earth. The sinuous lines transcend epochs that delve into the profound narratives of women embracing their divine dualities that shed a matrix of ideals into a deconstructed truth.

The sacred ophidian, embodies a duality coiled within their bodies that is both fearsome and revered, the paradoxical relationship of beauty, danger and deception. This duality is an emphasis of the veneration of the power of women in our society and the condemnation of the dangerous national plague of GBV.

A juxtaposition of light and dark, creation and destruction – evoking both fear and reverence in the intricate patterns and mesmerising shapes that mirror the force of life itself, and the multifaceted nature of women.The garment echoes the intricate process of transformation, renewal and strength with every thread. A divine investigation of the formidable prowess and mesmerising grace that blossoms in captivating darkness and poetic melancholy.

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“It is an honour to be part of the Give her a Crown Campaign as it will challenge me to become more confident. I believe I can make a difference through my art. Equality and opportunity give us all the chance to achieve professionally and help and inspire others.”


Sonja Swanepoel, based in Cape Town, South Africa, is a sculptor and environmental architect who explores our natural world in her art. Themes in her work are a reconnection to nature and the interconnectedness of all things. Her sculptures intend to convey ecological messages about our deteriorating relationship with nature to inspire acts of restoration and conservation.

“It is an honour to be part of the Give her a Crown Campaign as it will challenge me to become more confident. I believe I can make a difference through my art. Equality and opportunity give us all the chance to achieve professionally and help and inspire others.

”My bird forms are messengers that reveal a specific truth. The delicate, shell-like quality of Avis fragilis shows that something so fragile can also be powerful. Birds’ lightness and strength make them one of the most inspiring forms to sculpt.

These are all trademarks that can easily be given to women. Women may appear fragile and are sometimes still seen as the weaker sex. Still, we can be far more innovative and influential if we believe in ourselves and are given equal opportunities in life.  We can rise to independence and influence if given access to education and opportunities.Watch how Sonja is entranced by the bird species and how they are create a delicate balance to reflect our natural ecology.

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