Colourful murals bring smiles

Coat of hope

10 September 2021 | Social Issues

Windhoek • [email protected]

In the children’s cancer ward at the Windhoek central hospital, the youngsters have huge smiles on their faces after the walls of the hall have been decorated with 34 colourful and exciting animated images from Ida Smith's paintbrush.
“The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) approached me to bring the walls to life with colourful sketches. Naturally, I seized the opportunity!
“Because I work full time these days, I could only paint over the weekend. I started at 16:00 on Friday and on Sunday by 17:00, after 20 hours of work, I was done. I had to work quikcly because my time was so limited,” she says.
Ida lives in Gobabis and discovered her passion for art as a child. Her school books were regularly covered with pencil sketches.
“I did not undergo formal training; I believe it just evolved naturally. I painted full time for over two years, until Covid-19 came about and I had to get a full-time job. Now I paint on weekends and in my free time.”
Her ideas are based on children’s stories, but she says she is also inspired by everything around her, like the natural beauty in the country and our wildlife. Besides murals, she says she also paints on canvas, wood and on stone. “I am currently working on a painting on wood for a client from the Cape and my next project is a house name on stone.”
Ida says the young patients in the hospital were curious throughout and kept an eye on her all the time.
“Two things shaped me anew again during my painting project at the hospital: The children taught me about sincerity and that we should be happy despite illness or hurt. I was also forced to use the hospital’s elevator because of all the paint and my limited time. Thanks to this, I am now free from fear of anxiety after 52 years.”
The murals were part of the upgrades done to the Eight West Childhood Cancer Hall by the Cancer Association of Namibia and its partners. The project, costing more than N$350 000, started in April, but the third wave of Covid-19 delayed things.
Donations for the upgrades were made by Namibian Breweries (NBL), the Bankers Association of Namibia, the Pupkewitz Foundation, Polka Plumbing and CAN.
Estelle Viljoen made new curtains for all the rooms.

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