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Home to roost

Michele du Plessis

The unique chicken canvas artworks, created by different artists for the Chicken Challenge will go on auction from June 26th to July 26th. The 3-D stylised chicken-shaped canvas was inspired by Polish sculptor Dariusz J Nowak and provides the perfect vehicle for artistic expression and interpretation.

“When the artworks go on auction in June, make sure you bid high enough to take one home and support orphaned and vulnerable children in the process,” Reinette Fourie, Chicken Challenge founder and Nelspruit-based artist said.

Entries are open for the 2020 Chicken Challenge and people are already getting their creative juices flowing to transform beautiful hand-crafted, 3-D chicken-shaped canvases into unique works of art. The submission date for completed canvases is on 15 May.

Now in its sixth year, the Chicken Challenge is a fundraising initiative in support of Hands at Work in Africa, a non-profit organisation based in Mbombela that assists vulnerable and orphaned children in Southern Africa.

Hands at Work in Africa works across eight African countries, in over 60 communities, serving villages and slums and helping the poorest of the poor. Burdened by the effects of HIV and Aids, extreme poverty and low or non-existent infrastructure, orphans and vulnerable children in these communities are in dire need of help.

Hands at Work in Africa mobilises and equips local men and women in these communities to care for the most vulnerable children around them. The organisation’s goal is to create locally-owned ‘Life Centres’ in these communities – places of life, love and care which leave a community strengthened and sustained for the future.

“In its founding year in 2014, 67 chickens were on display, generating around R30 000. Since then, the Chicken Challenge has grown from strength to strength, with 101 chickens returned and auctioned last year, raising R83 126 for Hands at Work in Africa,” says Reinette, who developed the Chicken Challenge with Karin Daymond and Marlize Meyer. ”The challenge’s defining moment is its professional online auction of the transformed chicken-shaped canvases, which sees 100% of the proceeds being donated to Hands at Work in Africa.

A select number of chickens will also be exhibited at White River Gallery, from 11 to 26 July 11TH TO 26TH, and members of the public are invited to visit the gallery to see which chicken they want to bring home to roost,” Reinette said.

The only people involved in the Chicken Challenge who are paid are the two crafters, Thembi Nkosi and Nhlanhla Mabunda, who make the canvases. The Chicken Challenge is organised and facilitated by volunteers and expenses are carried by donors and corporate sponsors.


A selection of the chickens from the 2019 Chicken Challenge will be on display, for one day only, at the Trent Gallery in Waterkloof, Pretoria, on 5 March 2020.

How to participate

Purchase your chicken canvas for R180 from Mopani Pharmacy (White River or Crossing Centre) or online at

Transform your chicken into a work of art and drop it off at either of the participating Mopani Pharmacies by the submission date of 15 May 2020.

For more information about the Chicken Challenge, visit Facebook @thechickenchallenge and @lowveldchickenchallenge. For more information about the exhibition at Trent Gallery, email Stuart at

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