The Keiskamma Guernica (2010) is a large-scale textiles piece of the same scale as Picasso’s original and it measures 3.5 metres high by 7.8 metres wide. The creators of this piece were predominantly women from Hamburg and the surrounding villages in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Most of the the women involved in its creation have now been working in the Keiskamma Art Project for 10-14 years. The Art Project provides employment for over 100 women.
The shapes you see in The Keiskamma Guernica are the lives and experiences of the people involved in its creation. A form of empowered creative practice develops through the transformation of these painful and traumatic experiences into a collective remaking of Picasso’s Guernica. This remaking simultaneously expresses grief, anger and hope.
The Keiskamma Guernica is one of several large-scale textiles pieces the Keiskamma Art Project has created based on iconic Western art. To find out more about these artworks see: https://keiskammaartproject.org/
The motifs and symbols used in The Keiskamma Guernica communicate a complex range of emotions surrounding the witnessing and experiencing of pain and suffering as a consequence of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. The Keiskamma Guernica was designed by Carol Hofmeyr. Hofmeyr is trained as a medical doctor and in the arts. She worked through the height of the AIDS epidemic between 2005 and 2010 in a hospice she founded that forms part of the Keiskamma Trust. The hospice was set up to fill a total void in health care in the area.