Fiona Kirkwood

Fiona Kirkwood is a South African artist who lives in
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. She works in fibre and mixed media
to produce contemporary sculptures and installations

Artist's Statement

SURVIVAL (2003 - 2008)

My work "Survival" speaks about animated existence, the soul, the spirit and endurance, continuing to exist in spite of danger. It also refers to life's fragility, in the very ethereal, impermanent and transparent nature of the materials used. As an artist I continue to use condoms in some of my works to try to promote public awareness to the fact that condoms can create a major difference between life and death, particularly in fighting the HIV / AIDS Pandemic.

I want to also draw attention to the female condom, little known about or used in South Africa. This gives women the power to protect themselves against HIV / AIDS as well as STD's and pregnancy

I like the fact that the word "SURVIVAL" contains within it the letters for the words "VIRUS", "SAVE LIFE!!!" and "VIVA"

A HEART DIVIDED (2005 - 2011)

A Heart Divided talks about my divided self as a child growing up in Scotland with a Scottish father and a mother who was born in South Africa. It also refers to the division in my own life whereby my childhood was spent in Scotland, but the majority of my life has been lived in South Africa.

This work will pave the way for a future major work (see A Heart Divided Installation 2011).



This miniature work is of an unusual size for me as I usually work in a monumental scale.  It is a derivative of works like “Energy Fields” 1998 or “KZN Energy Coat” 2001.

THE WASHING LINE (2006 - 2007)

The aim of “The Washing Line” project was to encourage people to examine issues around HIV/AIDS, gender, equality and patriarchy, and to open discussions that might lead to positive changes in behaviour as a means of curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

South Africans live in a male-dominated society wherein males make the decisions, and women have little bargaining power. Younger women - between the ages of 15 and 24 years - have even less bargaining power. Condoms are not part of traditional African culture. Ignorance, lack of education, myths, stigma, poverty and poor nutrition (which lowers immunity), are all factors that contribute to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Women are especially powerless when they have children to care for, do not own a home and do not have a job. Women might choose to be monogamous, but in Africa many men are not. Prostitution is not legalised and so sex workers have no support or protection. Rape of women is a huge problem, as is the rape of children and virgins. The reality is that the number of girls and women affected with HIV and AIDS has increased in every region of the world in the last two years. Almost half of the adults living with HIV and AIDS are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of infected people are girls and women.


The African indigenous Trichilia Dregeana (Umkhuhlu) tree and its seeds, human sperm and ovum are the inspiration for this work.
Seeds are the essence of nature in the plant world, the beginning of the renewal of life like the sperm and the ovum in the human and animal kingdoms.
The repetition of the circle in the work refers to the repetitive cycles of nature and the apparent movement to nature’s dynamism and fluidity.
"INCEPTIONS" also refers to 'SEED BANKS' which are being established to ensure the survival of many indigenous species of plants and trees worldwide. 'SPERM BANKS' already exist.

RADIATE(D) (2009)

Nature explodes with forms which are radiant. Sadly as a result of climate change and global warming and pollution many of our natural resources on land and in the oceans of our world are becoming devastated. What were once radiant are now sadly contaminated or being destroyed.