By Ntokozo Mayekiso
The beginning of last week saw art displays all over upper and middle campus, aimed at promoting awareness against gender-based violence. The campaign is in association with FKA Michaelis, as well as HAICU ( the HIV/AIDS, inclusivity and Change Unit), a UCT society that helps draw attention to matters of HIV and Aids in South Africa. These displays were placed on Jammie plaza, and included an outline of the South African map with stones cast in different corners of the regions, to represent how often young girls/womxn fall victim to rape. Students were shocked by the statistics but appreciated the effort of artists to educate the public. “These displays are necessary to open dialogue for a prevalent issue across campus and in the country,” says second-year Media student, Tess Yieke.
Another, on middle campus, displays bubble wrap hung from the top of the pedestrian tunnel which connects to upper, shaped in the form of long cloaks. On the ground, adjacent to these figures, were cut-out foot prints made of the same material as the figures above them. The creators of this particular project (Courtney Webb, Courtney Maitland, Aimee Pullon, Faith Mtengwane, Jabu Nkonyane, and Aleks Sumner-Priilaid), offer commentary on this piece. For them, the display is intended to give the viewer an “ominous” experience.
The creators also point out the deliberate choice of the use of bubble wrap in this display. They stated it is used to universalise the experience of gender-based violence, as well as convey the sense of uncertainty and emptiness felt by the victims of such crimes. This campaign has also opened up the floor to the public as a means of contributing to the dialogue. A figurine of a male made of post-it notes, seen at North Stop on Upper Campus, questions viewers on their concept of gender-based violence and what it means to them. Indeed, these works of art have caught the attention of many students, and have reaffirmed the fact that gender-based-violence should not have a place in our society.