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16-Days of Activism Art Advocacy and Awareness Project

A project honouring the voices and experiences of gender-based violence survivors.

A proud partnership between Lawtons Africa, Frida Hartley Shelter for Destitute Women and Children and the Art Healing Academy.

Life is a storm. In its grips, we are swept away, blinded by unrelenting wind and rain. This darkness forges something unbreakable, something omnipotent. It births a Survivor.

These are the creative expressions of 16 survivors of gender-based violence who volunteered to participate in the 16-Days of Activism Art Advocacy and Awareness Project.

Through colours, shapes and words, these survivors reflect on life as a storm. They share their experiences and hopes.


Artist: Anonymous

Title: Her

Narrative: Life’s simple, black and white. I choose to sprinkle some light in it with some pink.


Artist: Aobakwe Dialei

Title: Hope

Narrative: Ladybugs, in particular, give me hope, and I also see myself in a ladybug. For instance, ladybugs are peaceful insects. You would never see a ladybug buzzing all day long, whereas you would see a fly the whole day. On your food, around the house, and on your skin. I feel like I am as humble as a ladybug. I’m calm and generous. When I am hopeless, ladybugs give me hope, make me feel alive and seen by God.


Artist: Lisa (Palesa) Sangweni

Title: Moving Forward

Narrative: The story behind my painting is that I was once an innocent child that had to start experiencing obstacles that were above my stage at the time, but as I go through each and every obstacle, I allow it to groom me. As much as I have rainy days I go through or the tears that I cry, they build me to be a strong and unstoppable woman. Since my name means Rose, I am the flower that grows through the storms I go through and move forward.


Artist: Onkabetswe Diale

Title: The smallest RDP house in town

Narrative: I like the idea of an RDP house. You would live in it alone without someone disturbing you. I would love to be alone. I would also like to have my own room and a garden outside. I would sometimes share my house with people with depression and anxiety, because some people want to live alone too, so they would live there


Artist: Anonymous

Title: Standing on a sinking heart

Narrative: (none).


Artist: Cecilia Madundo

Title: A tree

Narrative: The red colour represents the blood. The tree represents the seasons of life. Time is represented in the shade of the leaves. Just like a storm, there is time to bear fruits, joyful moments and lastly, time to wilt or to die.


Artist: Nomasonto Maphosa

Title: My art is God, me, and my kids

Narrative: Whatever I am passing through with my kids, God is always there for us financially, emotionally and physically. Despite being abused physically and emotionally, having slept on the street and begged for food, attempting suicide, God’s love has saved my life. He is our pillar of strength and I thank God to be alive today.

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Artist: Maureen Konono Ndlovu

Title: Dark Hole

Narrative: I am in a dark hole because of not knowing myself and not knowing my parents. It is very painful, and I am always in a dark place, especially not knowing myself. This is why I keep myself in one place and that scares me sometimes.


Artist: Anonymous

Title: Happiness over sadness

Narrative: : I have been through tough times. I had a lot of support from my family and have been very happy.


Artist: Khethiwe Mdolomba

Title: Build your foundation

Narrative: In life, we face different types of storms, a spark of happiness and a lot of stormy days, but we are phenomenal when we grow and rise each day. Sometimes we can look at our situation and see no sunny days, like we are doomed and feel like the grave is the only solution, but God wakes us up everyday for a reason. My painting stands for a woman who is learning from her mistakes and all they have to do is learn, laugh, pray, mediate and live their truth.


Artist: Nonhlanhla Mpisi

Title: Through the storm

Narrative: Through the storm is a painting that has so much confusion and no light at all, but as an eagle flying through the storm, I have hope that at some stage in my life someone would come to my rescue. I try, but I keep failing.


Artist: Nasiphi Nkentsha

Title: Survivor

Narrative: The story behind my art is the storms I went through in my life, which I am still going through. The storm that I drew with rains is the feeling I have or what I see myself going through, but in the end hoping the sun will shine, meaning that I will get through whatever situation I am facing.


Artist: Kungwano Linomtha Pezisa

Title: My own creativity

Narrative: Focussing on my own future and forgetting about everything that has happened. The future is in my hands, to start a new beginning with new people in a new place.


Artist: Lindokuhle Lucia Maiaza

Title: Goddess

Narrative: My art explains the light that is in my life through the storm I have been facing. This is all about the grace of God and the power of light and the powerful woman I am and all the struggles I have overcome. I overcame all the darkness, now is the time to shine, it is my time and all the goodness that comes with it.


Artist: Tshepiso Ella Makoeng

Title: Rising in darkness/growing in darkness

Narrative: My painting explains, or rather, describes my life’s challenges of having to live while surviving in an abusive household.  Even though everyday feels like I am drowning in darkness, like my childhood was robbed by my parents and my adulthood is being robbed by the system. Still, I rise above my circumstances.

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