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After having worked for Medicines Sans Frontiers MSF (Doctors without Borders) in Rwanda in the early 1990’s Ciska de Hartogh emigrated to South Africa 1992 where as a health activist she became involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In Cape Town she voluntered with initiating one of the first succesfull AIDS projects in the world by raising funds in The Netherlands for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town to start rolling out an antiretroviral vaccination program for HIV infected pregnant mothers in the townhsips and poor areas around Cape Town. Trained as AIDS counselor herself Ciska together with home base care communityworkers visited hundreds of women and children infected with and dying from the virus. The ARV vaccination program eventually helped pregnant HIV infected mothers give birth to healthy children and became one of the most important 'life-saving' AIDS programs in the world.


Her years of work and reflections of these early years, Ciska wanted to immortalize by creating monuments for all these victims. Back in The Netherlands  'art-activist' Ciska started to create gigantic 8 meter high sculptures, inspired on her memories of the many children dying from the virus, with huge heads onto emaciated bodies. The sculptures were interactively created with hundreds of children and volunteers on numerous festivals between 2004 - 2012. The sculptures were annually exhibited in the The Hague City Hall. This initiative initiated the Love Life Festival in The Hague, sponsored and endorst by The Mayor and City Councel of The Hague, NCDO, Hivos, Fonds 1818 and other NGO's, as well as dozens of business enterprises. Onto them video images of AIDS infected children were projected, anxiously looking down on the audiences below. (Also see filmfootage under Video Library on this website).

Between 2004 - 2012 the annual art exhibitions Arms Around You were enabled by hundreds of volunteers and sponsored by:

A.C.G. Gordijn Transporten B.V., AD Haagsche Courant, AD Nieuwsmedia, Alp Lift Hoogwerkerssytemen, Amco Pro Rent, Avim BV,, Bureau Evenementen Atrium Stadhuis, Bush Radio, Café restaurant 'De Ooievaer', Ciska de Hartogh Beeldend Kunstenaar, Clockround Events, College B&W Den Haag, Critical Distance B.V.,Deltahage BV, Doen Evenementen BV Den Haag, Ducos Productions, Elise Mathilde Fonds, Ernst & Young, Fonds 1818, FunX Radio, Gemeente Den Haag, Grecon BV,Van Grieken & Zonen, Haagse Bibliotheek, Hillenaar, Hivos, Hof Promotie Haag Vrijwilligerswerk, Idazaal Den Haag, Image Building.COM, Imotiv Creatieve Communicatie, Leon Olyslagers Tentenverhuur, Marius Jouw Wijnvriend, 3M, NCDO, Sobchek, Stichting Atrium Stadhuis, Total Identity.

Ciska de Hartogh

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