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Heather Haynes

Phoenix Rising

Mixed Media
60" x 60"
This painting pays tribute to a very special young woman, Lucienne.

Lucienne’s mother, Rachel, was the original caretaker/cook at the Tchukudu Kids Home. When the Tchukudu Kids Home (TKH) started, Rachel was a single mother to Lucienne and Alice. All three lived at the TKH and Lucienne was raised as a Tchukudu Kid living in the Home.  Rachel went on to marry Kizungu and Kizungu is now the father to Lucienne and Alice and 4 other children. Two which they have had more recently together.

In the spring of 2021, Mt. Nyirangongo volcano erupted near the city of Goma. The Tchukudu Kids were forced to evacuate to Idjwi Island for three weeks. They stayed at the Idjwi Island Leadership Academy. During that time, Kizungu also fell ill. Lucienne, now 18, stepped up to coordinate day-to-day logistics and operations. She also collaborates with Heather, taking the photos Heather uses in her work.

This painting of Lucienne tells the story of her journey. It starts with the Tchukudu Kids Home. It shows the volcano and the path to Idjwi Island. The circles are images of fabric worn by the Tchukudu women and represent Lucienne becoming the next generation of strength and resilience. The wings are images of the fabric worn by Mzaina, a leader at the Tchukudu Women’s Centre who has since passed away. The wings represent a guardian angel for Lucienne.

The image of her in the centre was taken the day after the volcano erupted. Behind her is the lava field, still smoking. Here she becomes the phoenix rising from the ashes.
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