Was there any cartoon that was as cool as The Powerpuff Girls? Okay, admittedly, as kids we didn’t probably catch all the multifaceted reference to pop culture and dark humour, but this is probably partly why the show was so critically acclaimed (six Emmy nominations, with two wins); and why, so many years later we can still look back at it with such affection. But most of all, this trio were some of the strongest female animation characters of their time and for many women today, it was one of the most empowering things on TV. This crime-fighting trio were seriously cool. In a new series of prints, Buttercup, Bubbles and Blossom find themselves in Africa, and they’re more badass than ever.
Adding to the legacy of this much-loved animation, Cartoon Network and Cape Town’s First Thursdays unveiled The Powerpuff Girls Art Factory last week. Thanks to this initiative, our favourite crime fighters are reimagined by local artists. These artists, inspired by the impact the cartoon had on them as kids, recreated the world of The Powerpuff Girls to reflect a unique African perspective. “The Powerpuff Girls are badass, young feminists that should not be messed with,” says Thandiwe Tshabalala, one of the artists, “I grew up watching The Powerpuff Girls; amazed by their self-belief and how small, yet fearless they are. As a young girl I felt inspired (still am) by their bravery.”
The group of artists are Thandiwe Tshabalala, Ello Xray Eyez, Qondile Dlamini, Jade Klara, Tyla Mason, Ndumiso Nyoni, Karabo Poppy Moletsane, Anja ‘Nanna’ Venter, Saint Rose and Jeanne Fourie. What these talented artists have produced is a celebration and tribute to three iconic figures from our childhood. But more than a tribute, they have created a body of work that adds a whole new story and context for the three characters. Although these prints are fun and cheeky, they go a lot further than that. Proceeds from the sales will go to Rock Girl South Africa. Rock Girl aims to reduce violence against women and children through the creation of safe spaces. Inspired by Buttercup, Blossom and Bubbles, these artists are in their own right, Powerpuff Girls: making a real impact in a world that sometimes seems to be falling apart.