Heather Haynes has been a professional painter for 18 years. After studying Fine Art at McMaster University she became a successful self-promoted artist, creating pieces with a unique styling and a vibrant palette that were procured by art enthusiasts and collectors. In 2005 Heather gained international notoriety with her tree series, and began showing her work in galleries across Canada, the United States and in the United Kingdom. She still is having great success to this day with this series, but has also been focusing on a variety of other subjects in her work. Heather has always been a great believer in "giving back" and she regularly donates artworks in support of several charitable causes, both near and far.
In recent years, after 4 trips to Africa, Heather has become passionate about using her art and sharing her knowledge of art in a broader reach. She has been mentoring a group of 4 young Tanzanian street-kids turned artist who call themselves "The Hard Life Artists". They, in turn, are inspired to pass on their good fortune to others in their community. One of Heather's goals was to empower girls and young women to paint - a viable but seemingly non-existent industry for African women. Through her alliance with The Hard Life Artists, this is becoming a reality.
Another recent undertaking of Heather's has been to raise money to build a new facility for a group of recently evicted orphans, near the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This project was initiated through a chance meeting and casual conversation with the orphanage director in a Rwandan hotel lobby. The construction of the new facility is well underway and is near fully funded, though there will always be the constant requirement to fulfill the operating costs required to keep the facility up and running.
In June last year Heather, in keeping with her family's entrepreneurial spirit, opened her own art gallery in downtown Kingston. Heather Haynes Gallery is located at 320A King St. East, just across from Springer Market Square. Currently, the gallery showcases Heather's several different styles of painting and also hand-crafted jewelry by her business partner and sister Whitney Haynes.
“Manuranzi, Seen and Heard”
HEAL Africa Democratic Republic on Congo
I went to the emergency / admittance area of HEAL Africa hospital. Sitting patiently was a 13 year old girl named Manuranzi Ndekezi. She is the 7th child of 13, and is from the province of North Kivu. This is a very dangerous part of Congo, over ridden with militias who victimize villagers using torture and rape as their main weapon. Manuranzi's hand was held in a burning fire. When I met her she had been walking for days to get to the hospital. I sat with her and perhaps she thought I was a doctor because of the colour of my skin. She pulled back her fabric wrap and showed me her hand. It was charred crisp black on what was left of her fingers. Raw burns and ash led all the way up her arm. The smell of rotting meat and gangrene was like nothing I had experienced before.
I fed her cookies and bananas and kept the flies off of her for 2 hours. She quickly was gaining energy from the food. We stared into each others eyes and the distance of our worlds became very clear. I didn't see her again but the hospital assured me they were admitting her and would be amputating her arm in the morning. I felt as though I had been placed in a space-time machine, sent to a planet so far from our own. This shouldn’t be happening here.