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Body Maps

Thozama Ndevu

2009, inkjet on paper

Purchased by St. Olaf College Flaten Art Museum

Starting in 2002, Thozarna Ndevu participated in an art project aiming to help people come to terms with their HIV diagnosis, or to disclose their HIV positive status, and to help  families and children to begin planning for the future. Thozama shared her life story along with the life size body map to express her thoughts and trumas. As she mentioned, her step father had treated her badly in her youth that made her stay with her boyfriend for years. But her boyfriend cheated on her many times, which traumatized her even more. After she met her current husband and got pregnant, she tested positive for HIV but she could not  tell anyone, saying, “I’m not happy. I would like to tell someone but I go to tell and then I’m afraid to.” This body map painting is powerful in terms of color and texts the artists used in the background. The rose and fire stand for her romantic life, while the body scars represent trauma, and the baby in the center speaks for her maternity.

Hongye Lyu ’21