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U.S. News

Washington: A Symbol of Hope’s Triumph

August 14, 2007

The Keiskamma Altarpiece -- a South African village's expression of grief, loss, and hope in the face of AIDS -- is on view through Sept. 20 at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.

The altarpiece has "a message that transcends language and country and social status," said Nan Nalder, a parishioner who helped bring the artwork to St. Mark's during its US tour. Nalder felt it was especially important for the 22- by 15-foot work to be seen in Seattle, the site of several AIDS research centers.

Several times a week, the cupboard-shaped altarpiece is opened, accompanied by an explanatory narrative. Its outside depicts AIDS' stark impact on the little river village: a widow, orphans, a funeral. The second layer includes symbols of hope and resurrection: a feast, a fig tree, a choir. The third level is adorned with actual photographs of local grandmothers and their grandchildren.

"When they opened it to the final panel and you see the three grandmothers, I was so moved by that because you're looking at real people," said Kit Herrod, director of external relations at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, one of several local agencies supporting the artwork's display.

Narrated openings are conducted several times each week. For more information, visit

Back to other news for August 2007

Adapted from:
Seattle Times
8.11.2007; Janet I. Tu

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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