D I A N E   V I C T O R

A selection of work on loan from the SPIER Collection

Contemporary artist Diane Victor has been at the forefront of the South African and international art scene for many years. Victor offers a cynical social commentary on the darker side of South African society, the human condition, and social norms – often raw and free of subtlety. From corruption to the social difficulties and inequalities that affect the country, often those experienced by women specifically, she implicitly questions the vulnerability of life. Her graphic works, almost exclusively in black and white, use figurative realism to create richly allegorical images – woven through with references to the history of art and mythology. They reveal her extraordinary mastery of printmaking and drawing techniques, and demonstrate her constant exploration of new media, such as ash and candle soot.



This seminal work was inspired by the ash drawing Mother and Daughter, created by Victor in 2019 as a response to the brutal murder and rape of a female University of Cape Town student. The demonstrations and protests that followed her killing, and the national outrage it sparked, ignited the South African ‘amlnext’ movement. The work was made by Victor as a visual reminder of these types of occurrences, as well as to pay homage to the student, whose death became a national symbol of defiance against gender-based violence in South Africa.

This memorial cloth was made in collaboration with textile artist and designer, Côme Touvay, who translated the drawing into a woven linen, giving the artwork new potential on a monumental scale. The materiality of the cloth evokes a shroud, juxtaposing the absence and presence of a body – and becomes part of a living, ritualised practise of remembering.



Diane Victor (b. 1964 in Witbank, South Africa) has established herself as a major figure in the South African and International art communities and is renowned for her expert printmaking and draughtsmanship. Her large-scale drawings and etchings demonstrate a command of mark-making, which she uses to render her subjects in affecting detail.

Having received her BA Fine Arts Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, with a major in Printmaking, and graduating with distinction – Victor has gone on to win various prestige awards including the Sasol New Signatures Award in 1987. In 1988, Victor became the youngest recipient of the prestigious Volkskas Atelier Award which granted her a ten-month stay at the Cité Internationale des Artes in Paris, France. Victor lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 1990, Victor has been a part-time lecturer, teaching drawing and printmaking at various South African institutions.