Visual Arts student Ms Aphiwe Khalishwayo has created artwork titled Scars, which aims to raise awareness about the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa.
‘This piece is about rape and the effects it has on a victim,’ said Khalishwayo. ‘The artwork contains words that perpetrators use on victims and everything they say before and after assaulting them. I also created images that illustrate different types of emotions that victims of rape go through after being abused.’
For Khalishwayo, the artwork means letting go of anger. ‘It’s a story close to home. Living in South Africa female rape is something that hits home because we hear about it every day in the news. I came up with the concept after I was a given a project in class to create artwork based on social issues we are going through as a country.’
Studying towards a Visual Arts degree has equipped Khalishwayo with ‘skills and the confidence to be able to be part of my artworks, hence the images on the piece are images of myself in a vulnerable (nude) state. This helped me to emphasize my point and has shown me that art is not always paint on a canvas.
‘Through this artwork I want to express myself without using words, and for it to be the voice of others out there, so they know that they are not alone, that there are people who understand what they are going through.’
Khalishwayo advises other artists to ‘focus on doing art that you are passionate about. That’s when you produce art that is meaningful and you are able to express yourself because art is a language as well.’
She plans to carry on making art that speaks to people and moves them. ‘I want to help others through my art.’