Body map 8

CCAC #: 0374
Artwork title: Body map 8
Artist(s): Ncedeka Mbune
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

Ncedeka discovered that she was HIV positive when her baby died from the virus. She contracted HIV from her boyfriend who cheated on her. Her body map is reminiscent of holding and the embrace of her child. The white spots visualise the virus inside her body as well as the itchy, pus-oozing skin condition it brought on.

Ncedeka Mbune's statement

When I see this picture I feel much happier just because when I look at it, I see what I can’t see when I look at myself in the mirror. But it is not all a happy story. Most of the other women have shown a baby inside them that is HIV negative and who is alive now.

At the top of my painting it says, “I’m still hurt about my child’s death who passed away in 1999 when she was one year four months old.” When I was pregnant I went for an HIV test, but the test showed me negative when I was positive. I breastfed her and passed mother to child transmission to her from breast milk or just by birth.

When she started to get sick, she started coughing and then vomiting. I took her to many doctors, private doctors and hospitals who said, “No, it’s just a cough, as long as she take the medicine it will go away.” But instead of her becoming better, she became worse and then she died.

She was my first child. I want to have another child if there is a way. But if there’s no way, I can live like this. But if there is a way that I can have a baby, I would like to. When I see this picture, where she is in my arms, it is bringing back those memories of being with her before she died.

At MSF, they said I am going to live for a long time but they didn’t say how long is it, how many years, how many months; you just have to take your medication regularly. If you forgot it, then that means you even forgot yourself. Because the more you forgot your medication, the more the virus will know your body and the virus will defeat you again.

Sadly Ncedeka passed away in a car accident in 2016.

CCAC 429024

Photographer: Unrecorded
Photo copyright: Consult with CCT curatorial team

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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.