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Khayelitsha, this work of art is based Ciska’s experiences in the townships around Cape Town in South Africa, where for a period of eight years she went on home visits to help HIV/AIDS infected women and children and where amongst others she met and interviewed Thandeka Zulu, an AIDS infected mother of three children in 2010. Afterwards Ciska reflects in her art works on the immense poverty and poor living conditions in the slums and poor areas of Khayelitsha where hundreds of thousands of people live on the edge of acceptability, without running water, electricity or sewerage.


This work consists of a serie of photographs of the poor living conditions in this township area around Cape Town and a reconstruction of Thandeka Zulu’s ramshackle slum dwelling in Khayelitsha, made off zinc-lead, wooden fences and plastic construction canvasses. Thandeka’s reconstructed house was exhibited in The Hague Municipality town hall Atrium in 2012, as well as twelve plastic construction canvasses (2 x 3 meters) painted by Ciska with primer, acrylic paint and markers. In these paintings Ciska doesn’t present an aesthetically finished artwork, but the process of painting an impossibility, as a metaphor of the grinding living conditions which make a quality life impossible for millions of poor people.


The construction canvasses made of plastic to protect against water, are ill suitable to paint on as nothing sticks onto the surface and the paint simply bounces off. Despite the transitory result of the work Ciska continued painting as a reflection of her powerlessness in helping in the fight against worldwide poverty, by persevering in her, no matter how small, contribution to the well being of people.

Ciska de Hartogh

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