Museum Of Me Zapiro
Fairlady|August 2017

Jonathan Shapiro’s cartoons are woven into South Africa’s history. Best known as Zapiro, he’s loved (and loathed, by some politicians) for his socio-political commentary. The satirist let us into his private archive of beloved items.

Marli Meyer

Work station with drawing board, electric eraser and his father’s arc lamp

‘This architectural drawing board is from 1977 and was probably about 25 years old when I bought it. When I returned from America (the two and a half years that my wife, Karina, and I were New Yorkers was an incredible time in our lives) I had a cabinetmaker friend take it apart and make a new box. It was put back together on a light box. It has these weird truck levers and it’s screwed onto my father’s old desk with his arc lamp next to it. I’m a dinosaur: I still use dipping pens and ink, and I think I may be the only person in the universe who still uses an electrical eraser. I bought it in New York at the greatest art shop in the world, Pearl Paint, which is now closed. I’ve had to customise it because they don’t make the [eraser] refills in that size any longer. Every few months, something I use – ink, nibs or a type of paper – is discontinued. People like me are gradually being phased out.’

The iconic shower head

‘I had a bigger, slightly more stuffed up one lying around in the first year of doing the shower head cartoon in 2006.I took it with me when I delivered a speech. At one point during the speech I leaned in and lifted the shower head. After that, I used it once or twice as a prop. Now it’s just part of my studio. A photographer approached me and asked whether he could photograph it and make prints of it. I said, “Well, if you think it’s a thing”. Turns out it is.’

New York fire hydrant mirror

‘This is from when I got a scholarship to study at a school in New York when I was 30. John, who I met via a notice board at the school, became a very close friend. When he visited us in South Africa, he carried this bloody heavy thing in his little backpack – it’s the top of a New York fire hydrant. He cut the mirror and put it in.’

The Mandela Files, signed by Mandela

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