Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cue Article in Mail & Guardian

The Cue article was also printed in Mail & Guardian, a national news paper. I'm very excited about that. I was also interviewed for CueBlog and that should be available online soon. The jewelry is selling very quickly now and things are continuing to go well. 2 days left of Fest!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cue for You

Quick post about the Festival:

Today the exhibit was featured in the Festival's news/review publication Cue. Click on the link below to read the review.

Cue Article

I'm really happy with how things are going so far. The jewelry is selling well and we've had a lot of positive responses. The Festival carries on until the 5th, but I'll be leaving the evening of the 3rd. I think that this has been a success.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Exhibition is Official!

Today the booking kit for Festival was made official and put online. The project, Defined by Four Letters, is now listed with a venue. The venue is just up the road here, so it's not far at all. It's actually only a block from the Raphael Centre, which is good for the women. They can get a ride to the Centre then walk down from there. I'm very excited that this is ACTUALLY happening. I had my doubts along the way, but it's for real now! The photos are on their way, as well. I picked up the pictures from the first camera today. They're pretty good. I'm excited to get the rest back.

Wednesday I'm bringing lunch for the women as a celebration. I'm happy to be doing that. We'll look at the first pictures and then I'll get to get the rest developed which will be good.

To see the Fringe Booklet from Festival: Defined by Four Letters, page 40.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ntombekhaya's Story

I am 38 years of age.

I live in Grahamstown.

Writing About HIV:

I find HIV disease when I was 33 years and I find out when I see limps side of my thigh, it called shingles.

I speak out with my status after I heard I’m positive. At first I was doubt its me have positive and I was shocked. I was told my family. First the members of my church and my friends. The reason that I told the people that are mentioned above is because I was need support from them and advice so I can not take my life to doing wrong things.

I live with my three year old daughter.

The sickness is not an issue in my life. The importance of my life is all the dreams that I have before I diagnosed. I still have them. Nothing can change that, and my life is going on more than before.

As I’m not have pension and I must eat my treatment everyday and I can’t eat without food. Raphael Centre help to give me breakfast and lunch. At the end of the month I have small food parcel at least for a week, but I have once a month. We learn how to survive with positive life and respect yourself.

For myself I think if I followed the instruction and listen the counselors when they teach us how do you live with positive. My dreams become true.

I want people to look me like a human being not a positive woman. There is a wonderful life after you know who you are.

I have two children, a boy and a girl.

I’m not married.

My boyfriend is have the disease as I am but my children are negative.

My Story:

I’m Ntombekhaya Patricia Adam. I’m a single mother of two children. I live at the city of Grahamstown. I live with my little daughter she have three years. Her name is Msindise. My son is 22 years and he live at extension seven at his father’s home.

My son live with me when he is doing standard five because I have no job to do when he want fees for school. I give him. So we decide he go and live with his father.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with HIV and I’m going to speak about this with my family. I was not ready to tell my son about this, but sister of my mom was all ready to do so. I was so worried when she told about this because I know my son very well. I was questioning her, “how he is react?” She said, “he was too painful for him and he was crying because ehe think his mother is going to die soon.” But with the power of God and trust my son is alright now. When he see his mom he see a normal, negative mother. The mother that he had before.

Now I have a 3 year old beautiful girl after I know my status. And I hope is going to be a old girl in front of my eyes. Nothing can change that because I know God is always there for us , every step we take at our lives. I’m not scared to talk about my status. From everywhere in the world I see many people in papers and magazines with HIV/AIDS. They are look healthy and they are beautiful, nothing wrong about that. So, what is going to stop me to look like them?

Written in English, but Ntombekhaya's native language is Xhosa.

The First Time I Got Sick - Nompikiso's Story

In 2002 the person who infected me with the disease died then I went to the doctor to get tested. And I discovered that I was HIV positive. Then I told my sister and she cried cause of the fact that many people with HIV die, but I told her not to worry because I was going to take good care of myself.

In my house I live alone. My baby lives with their dad. The disease that I’m having is breaking my heart, but I’m getting treatment. My dream is to get well. This disease wants someone who can take good care of herself, who can not do other things that she’s not supposed to do. It’s been from 2002 to 2008 living with this virus and I’m taking good care of myself. I eat healthy and I’m getting used to being HIV positive.

Translated from Xhosa by: Ziyanda L.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Today I gave out the cameras at the Raphael Centre. The women couldn’t have been more pleased! It was so wonderful to see them so excited.

We did a little tutorial on how to use the camera and they got started by taking pictures of each other to help me keep the cameras organized. They were so cute! I also gave them their writing assignments for the Festival. The women were a lot more open about HIV/AIDS when talking to me about what they were going to write than I expected them to be. I was surprised. I’m interested to see what they write.

I’m picking the cameras back up in a week and we’re having a celebratory lunch. I wanted to reward them with something nice. They don’t get much food at the Centre, so I thought it would be nice to surprise them. I should have the pictures by the end of the day Wednesday. I was told that the photo place was putting them onto a disc for me. If that happens then I should be able to post them. Not all of the women were there today, so the rest of the cameras will be given out as they come.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with. I hope it’s as powerful as it can be. Below are some pictures of the ladies and their cameras.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dreams and a Dose of Reality

I'm still visiting the Raphael Centre every Wednesday for our classes. Things are going well, although the number of women has recently dropped. The last few weeks there have only been four women, but we still enjoy our time together. This past Wednesday we drew then spent almost a half hour just talking.

This week we drew our dreams for ourselves. When I came in and told the ladies that I wanted them to draw their dream for their lives one turned to me and said, "it's too late for me to have any dreams." I reassured her that this wasn't true and the three women proceeded to draw their dreams. Two of the women had the same dream, to have a nice house to live with their family. They both drew elaborate houses with their families inside. "Where would you want this dream house to be," I asked the women. "It doesn't matter," one replied, "as long as I'm healthy and with my family." She couldn't be more correct. The other woman drew a limousine-like car. Packed into the vehicle was her large family. In broken English she told me that she wanted a car big enough to fit all of the women in her family. "I want to drive with my daughters (two twins, age 12 and one daughter age 28), my mother and my sisters," she told me. "Where would you go," I asked. "Anywhere we wanted," she answered.

This time I hadn't drawn alongside the women, instead I drew them a color wheel to help with their beading project. When they finished showing me their drawings one asked me, "What's your dream?" I had to think for a second before realizing that I was virtually living my dream. "My dream is to spend my time between Washington DC and South Africa creating artwork with HIV/AIDS patients and their families, like I'm doing right now. My other dream is that one day I will not have to create artwork with HIV/AIDS patients because there will be a cure," I told them. They all smiled at me and one began asking me questions about my motives for working with the HIV/AIDS population. I told her about the AIDS Walk and my experience with Teen Pep. I told her about the differences in the population worldwide and how I think that art can help. "Drawing with you helps me forget," she said. "Forget what," I asked. "Forget that I'm sick," she said. Dreams do come true, I guess...

Last week when I was with the women I was slapped in the face with the reality of working with the HIV/AIDS population. The same three women and I were sitting at a table outside drawing. Since I keep all of their drawings and bring them every time I asked if they wanted to see the first drawings they did. They were excited to see the first work they did with me, so I started showing them the drawings from the beginning. They laughed at each other’s drawings. On top of the pile was my favourite, a drawing that I wrote about here on my first day of class [link]. The image is of a traditional symbol of a heart along with a narrative. The narrative discusses the woman’s wish to have God keep her alive long enough to see her son graduate. I looked at the picture and I was touched all over again. One of the women then asked to see the picture. I handed it to her and a strange look came across her face. “She died recently,” she told me. “What?” I asked. I knew that there was a funeral lately, but I didn’t realize it was a woman I knew. The woman hadn’t been back since the first class, but women in my classes come and go. The saddest part was that her wish never came true. Her son will mostly likely graduate in November and she’s not here to witness it. I have now decided to dedicate the exhibit to her and will have the image displayed. I also hope to get a copy to her son if possible.

The festival is around the corner and I’m trying to prepare as best I can. I’m waiting for some important packages to come, but everything is held up in customs. It’s annoying, but that’s the system here. I will be handing out the cameras soon, but I’m waiting for more. I also am having trouble finding Xhosa translators. I finally heard from Kodak and they will be printing the photos at a steep discount. They’re printing a set of photos for each woman as well as fifty 8”x10” photos for 1000 rand, which is excellent. I’m very excited. Now I just need to get everything else prepared.

On Monday the women will begin beading which will be very exciting. I’ll be going on Monday to see how they’re doing. I hope to purchase something for myself, which will obviously hold a lot of meaning for me. The ladies are very excited and I’m excited for them!

I’m also working on planning an exhibit at home and at school for the summer and fall. I hope that works out.