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


Soul Bearers were a response to the rituals and magical tribal vibrations of KwaZulu- Natal; the strife of the apartheid society; the declaration of the State of Emergency; and the personal and universal desire for the continuation of life after death. The background suggests graves, the bearers' final resting places for souls. The work also explored fragmented colour and the use in an unorthodox way of the indigenous Ilala palm leaf.


In conceptualizing the work for the foyer of the Loft Theatre I was influenced by such thoughts and ideas as colour, vibrancy, rhythm in music and dance, rock concerts, youthfulness, space age, the feeling of climbing up to the loft, the concept of an open grid theatre and the overall idea of the Loft Theatre taking off like a rocket.


In 1988 I began a series of works with the theme of the "talisman". The talisman is a magical, protective charm worn or carried to avert evil from or bring good luck to its holder. I made a series of works which I saw as a triptych called "Talisman for Africa": "Yesterday", "Today" and "Tomorrow".

These works for me existed at two levels: The lower level being the political state of South Africa in "Yesterday", "Today" and "Tomorrow". The upper level represents the input of lucky charms to arrest evil and bring good luck.