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Kilmany-Jo Liversage


Kilmany-Jo Liversage’s oeuvre has unfolded as a kind of homage to street art, advertising culture and to fashion images. Hers is an avowedly urban practice, even though it almost always happens in the traditional art studio.

There are other ways that this feminist project manifests. Tagging, that building block of street art and graffiti that bedecks buildings and lonely urban corners around the world, is also an avowedly masculine visual language.

It seems to speak, at best, of male street artists one-upping one another in friendly rivalry, while at worst it’s a system for demarcating gang or criminal territories. In both cases, it serves as an aggressive way to mark presence, and maybe to warn rivals.

Liversage’s use of tagging morphs it into something quite different.

It becomes a glyph, a fragment of a larger story about contemporary life. Also, it’s an invitation to decode and deconstruct fixed identities and gender roles.

By appropriating this form of mark-making from the male-dominated graffiti/street art subculture, the female artist surely pushes against the notion that any artistic language can be owned by a single-gender.

And by thoroughly exploding the colour palette from the blacks and reds that tend to 


Kilmany-Jo Liversage (1975 -) is a Cape Town-based artist who works in spray paint, acrylics and mixed media.

She has exhibited extensively in South Africa and across the globe. In 2005, she was awarded the UNESCO Aschberg – Medellin Residency in Colombia, where she became involved in the street art scene. Liversage draws inspiration from street culture and strives to depict a universal sense of the familiar, paradoxically often using complete strangers as subjects.

She randomly sources image references from mass media and social networks, using these to create vibrant, large-scale, graffiti-style portraits that evoke within the viewer a feeling of recognition. 

Her work is included in private and corporate collections, including Spier and Nando’s collections.

She obtained an HDip Fine Arts (Painting) (Distinction) at Free State Technikon in 1994 and a BTech in Fine Arts at Free State Technikon, 1997. 

Notable exhibitions include Back 2 Back to Biennale installation, 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice, 2013 and Chroma718 at Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg in 2018.