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Ansisters Event August 2005


Detail from the performance 'Patterns Outside My Head' by Janine Lewis, Rantebeng Makapan and Bonisile Nxumalo. As part of the FACE Ansisters 2005 event, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

Copyright © FACE 2005.
All rights reserved.

studio : participants : keiskamma art project

Keiskamma Community
Carol Hofmeyr



Detail from the Keiskamma Altar piece.


The Keiskamma Altar Piece

The Isenheim Altar piece was painted by Grünewald in the fifteenth century, for the chapel in a hospice where people suffering from the incurable and extremely painful illness called St Anthony’s fire, or ergot poisoning, were nursed. The crucified figure shows the signs of the disease on his ravaged body and the patients could draw comfort from the thought that all their suffering had been experienced and conquered by Christ.

The women of the Keiskamma art project in Hamburg and surrounding villages have made the Keiskamma Altar piece in the exact dimensions of the original to show that the suffering and hardship of their communities has hope of redemption in their faith and in their shared humanity. They belong to a huge community, past and present, of those who have suffered. As with ergot poisoning, the epidemic of AIDS will one day be over. In addition the Keiskamma Altar piece celebrates the strength of the grandmothers who bear the responsibility for the children in these times.


  • National department of Arts and Culture
  • Eastern Cape Department of Arts and Culture
  • Grahamstown Foundation for National Arts festival
  • Private Donors


keiskamma altar piece

Altar Piece 01


Altar Piece 02


Altar Piece 03 - Ansisters (work in progress)

Posted 20 June 2005,, author: Carol Hofmeyr.