Body map 14

CCAC #: 0380
Artwork title: Body map 14
Artist(s): Bongiwe
Year made: 2002
Artwork type: Paper
Medium: Digital inkjet print on paper
Framed dimensions (in mm): 950 x 610
Artwork series: Long Life Project Body Maps
Source: Bought by the Artworks Committee from David Krut
Year acquired: 2004
Installation type: Movable artwork
Location area: On public display

When Bongiwe received her HIV diagnosis in 2002, she thought she would die from the disease as did her mother. She depicted the virus as a fire behind her body map as this is how she experienced her numerous physical aches. The tiny figure within shows her before ARV treatment: she had been frail and unwell, but had since put on weight.

Bongiwe Mba's statement

I feel very proud of this picture. I’m proud because people are going to see that people with HIV are active and they are alive. This here on the left side of my face is my bible. It’s in my mind. My symbol in my chest is a Protea flower. It’s a flower that represents South Africa.

And the scar under my hair on my head. I was coming from a friend’s 21st birthday party and then I saw this car. I think there were about five, no, six because there was a lady, and I was forced in the car. They take me to the bushes, on the N2 road, there’s that concrete fence.

The whole process took place there and I was raped. One guy said we must kill this girl because she’s going to tell a lot about us to the police. But they just left me there. The other one hit me with a beer bottle here on my head and blood started coming out.

My mother started to get sick in the year 2001 in early January. And she passed away on August. My mother didn’t tell me that she was HIV positive, I found out myself.

This small person inside my stomach it’s me. It is me when I started using ARVs. I was small and so tiny. I was weighing 46 kilograms. It was March this year. Then I started using ARVs and I gained a lot of weight. I have improved a lot. I am weighing 58 kilograms now. So this big body around the small body is me now.

Now I’m feeling great. I’m feeling strong, I’m feeling happy. I am alright now. At the clinic they told me I can take ARVs for five years. In that five years I think, if I could get some money I would go to further up my studies, buy my own house. I don’t plan on having children, since I am HIV. I live by myself now, just me and my cats.

CCAC 428882

Photographer: Ben Law-Viljoen
Photo copyright: CCT

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NOTE: The process of photographing artworks in the CCAC is underway - we are currently working to improve image quality and display on the CMS but have included internal reference photos for identification purposes in the interim.