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Capturing the essence of Christel DeHaan through art

Our school’s beloved founder, the late Christel DeHaan would have celebrated her 78th birthday on 20 October 2020. Every year, all the Christel House institutions around the world celebrate Christel’s birthday on what is known as ‘Founder’s Day’. To honour her, Christel House South Africa commissioned a special painting by one of our talented alumni, Toy-Yiebah Cupido who is currently studying at The Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. Toy-Yieba shares Christel’s love for art, passion for introducing children from underprivileged communities to art and is extremely grateful for the opportunities that Christel DeHaan and Christel House provided her with.

The painting was unveiled at a small ceremony at our school where Toy-Yieba spoke and where staff members shared their thoughts on Christel’s love for the arts, nature and our students.

Toy-Yieba has painted for Christel House previously, but of this painting, she says, “There was something completely different about having to do Ms Christel's portrait. I needed to get it right, I needed to do justice to all she was, all she embodied and all she had done for so many at Christel House. She holds a special presence about her, even in her absence. I wanted to capture that in the painting, and I think I was able to successfully capture it all. What an honour it was to be able to do it.”

Ms Vivienne, our High School Art Teacher and Toy-Yieba’s mentor said, “I am extremely proud of Toy-Yieba. She has come into her own as a budding young artist and has developed her own style over the years.”

The painting will be hung at Christel House South Africa’s premises where students, staff, donors, friends and guests can view and admire it.

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