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KILMANY-JO LIVERSAGE (b. 1973) lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

She creates portraits that sit at the blurry boundary between fine art and graffiti.

Adopting the graffiti or urban art language allows her to update, renew and challenge the conventions of painting, though her rendering of female subjects are inspired by Renaissance era portraiture. It also references digitised mass production and a futuristic post-human world, populated by perfect-looking female cyborgs. The result is a series of brightly coloured large-scale paintings, evoking the street, art history and the future.

Although Liversage has painted walls all over the world, including a large-scale mural at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, she does not consider herself a street artist. Operating within the framework of ‘urban contemporary’, Liversage may have incorporated aspects of street art into her practice – considerable scale, a predilection for working outside and the custom of tagging - but she trained as a fine artist and painting is her committed pursuit. She is a dedicated fine art painter. She is faithful to Renaissance standards of portraiture, working within the established canon, taking into account the very same compositional considerations as da Vinci or Piero della Francesca.

BUT, she breaks the mold, allowing for spontaneity of mark-making, for dripping and for glorious, generative chaos. She is the anarchist who comes to mess with the process, revealing in her rebellion the truth of the matter – the uselessness and the peril, for women, of colouring within the patriarchal lines.

In Liversage’s work, the masculine Gaze, to which all feminine is subject within a patriarchal framework, is plain to see. However, revealed as self-portraits, the feminine, cast in the roles given to her by the Gaze, stares knowingly, ferociously, straight back.

Few artists can capture a moment or an expression as confidently as Kilmany-Jo Liversage does. On top of that, each painting is an act of rebellion. There is the classic and "correct" represented by the classical portrait elements, and then there is her saying that the status quo needs to change or be better and that those who traditionally had not been respected or valued are equally important and relevant. This is expressed by her use of a hip-hop aesthetic. Her ability in combining the two elements into one powerful artwork makes that statement.

About her still life paintings, she has the following to say; “I paint flowers as a reference to the objectification of women. Flowers are supposed to bring beauty and colour to a space and often women are expected to do the same. Women are put under pressure to be beautiful. Even on social media we find apps designed to enhance certain feminine features. So in these still life paintings, I subtly add elements referring to women as objects of adornment. This is not a bunch of flowers. It is my take on flowers.”

• 1994 H.Dip Fine Arts. Free State Technikon. Received a distinction in Painting
• 1997 B.Tech Fine Arts, Free State Technikon

Special honours and awards:
• 1994 Distinction-HDip FA-(Painting)
• 1995 Coca-cola Bursary
• 2000 SASOL New Signatures Art Competition (Best Painting)
• 2004 Spier Arts Trust (Spier Sculpture Biennale)
• 2005 UNESCO Aschberg Bursary, Paris France
• 2013 Back 2 back to Biennale. 55th Venice Biennale
• 2018 SCOPE Art Show, Miami

Artist residency:
• 2005 UNESCO Asch erg-Medellin, Colombia, South America

Workshops (Graffiti 2005):
• Centro Colombo Americano. Paul Bardwell Contemporary Gallery of Modern Art – Medellin, Colombia
• University of Bolivariana, Department of Graphic Design, Colombia
• Comfandi Centre-Cali, Colombia
• University of Antioqiua, Department of Plastic Arts, Colombia
• Centro Colombo Americano, Manizales, Colombia Art-Medellin, South America
• Comfandi Institute-Cali, Colombia
• University of Antioquia, Department of Plastic Arts, Colombia
• University of Bolivariana, Department of Graphic Design, Colombia
• Centro Colombo Americano, Manizales, Colombia

Conferences (Contemporary Art in South Africa)
• Centro Colombo Americano.-Medellin, Manizales, Colombia
• University of Antioquia, Department of Plastic Arts, Colombia
• University of Bolivariana, Department of Graphic Design, Colombia
• University of Bellas Artes, Manizales, Colombia
• University de Caldas. Cali. Colombia
• Comfandi Institute, Cali, Colombia

Other Related Workshops
• Aids Awareness workshop with the Department for Poverty Alleviation, Western Cape - children from disadvantaged areas: Du Noon, Kensington, Joe Slovo.

• Nando’s collection
• Department of Science and Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
• Absa Bank Art Collection, South Africa
• Centro Colombo Americano. Paul Bardwell Contemporary Gallery of Modern Art – Medellin, South America
• Comfandi Centre-Cali, Colombia
• Spier Arts Academy
• J.Miller (Art director-Sherpafilms Los Angeles, America)
• R. Semler (Assen, Netherlands)

Solo Exhibitions:
• 2021 FERVA. WORLDART, Cape Town
• 2019 FEMFLEKTA619. WORLDART, Cape Town
• 2018 Chroma718. Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
• 2016 Orda716. WORLDART, Cape Town
• 2016 Orda716. Lizamore & Associates
• 2015 Ordamental515. Hay Hill Gallery, London
• 2014 Obversa714. WORLDART, Cape Town
• 2014 Obversa714. Lizamore & Associates
• 2012 Portra. Source 53, Singapore
• 2012 Portra. Artspace gallery, Johannesburg
• 2012 Portra. WORLDART, Cape Town
• 2011 Moniker. WORLDART, Cape Town
• 2010 Orda 2010. Erdmann Contemporary
• 2009 “Symbol of Tribute”, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
• 2006 Orda 2006-Blank Projects, Cape Town
• 2003 Orda 2003-Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town

Selected group shows:
• 2011 Tattoo Convention, Word of Art, Woodstock, Cape Town
• 2011 Guten Tag. Word of Art, Woodstock. Cape Town
• 2010 Creative Context: A Group Show by Contemporary African Fine Artists. Singapore
• 2010 World Aids Congress – Vienna, Brussels
• 2010 Matters Conceptually, Erdmann Gallery, Cape Town
• 2005 Grafismos - Comfandi Institute in Cali, Colombia
• 2005 Graffiti is Public Art, Jardin Botanical Garden, Medellin, Colombia
• 2005 Graffiti is Public Art - Paul Bardwell of Contemporary Art, Centro Colombo Americano, Meddelin, South America
• 2004 Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennale 2004, Stellenbosch, Cape Town
• 2004 Long Shot  - Shot Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
• 2004 Gesseau Art - Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
• 2003-2005 Absolut Magic, Absolut Voyeur, Absolut Final-Association for Visual Art, Cape Town SA

• Mail and Guardian. Friday May6,2011
• One Small Seed Magazine, issue 21 page 32-34 ,2010
• One Time Magazine, October 2010
• Brett Kebble 2003, 2004
• Absa 2003, 2004
• Desearte Paz
• Oxford Successful Arts and Culture Edition

Exhibitions - Competitions
• New Signature 2000-award for best painting
• Absa Art-finalist 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009
• Brett Kebble Art Award-finalist 2003,2004
• Department of Science and Technology-work accepted for new DST building, Pretoria, South Africa



Kilmany-Jo Liversage aka Orda (b. 1973)

With street art being one of the most talked about genres today, some struggle to differentiate the Banksy’s from the bunch. No surprise then that super talented artist Kilmany-Jo Liversage aka Orda has taken her outstanding portfolio a step further with street art as the key influence. The result is a body of work that is edgy and energetic but also very hang-able.

With a list of achievements between 1995 and now, including a Sasol New Signatures Award in 2000 and a UNESCO bursary in 2005 as well as an artists’ residency in Colombia, Kilmany-Jo has had the opportunity to explore and interpret the concept of street art in a unique way.

She uses traditional aerosol sprays to create works that redefine identities as a mark of contemporary life. The result is a body of large, colourful paintings that is clearly rooted in the street but simultaneously boasts superior sophistication.

About her most recent series of portraits the artist issued the following statement:

“During the Machine Age, artists would reduce their compositions to its smallest constituent parts. With my current paintings I manufacture this deconstruction by combining the painting tradition of portraiture with idiosyncrasies from the urban culture of tagging. This enables me to explore the intersection between street art and fine art while reconstructing them into a new genre of portraiture.” - Kilmany-Jo Liversage.



This spray can is my weapon for change

Kilmany-Jo Liversage uses graffiti to create portraits that evoke the strength and boldness within everyday women. Her art speaks to an issue close to her heart - the abuse of women's rights.

Choking fumes flow from the neon paint on the wall. Kilmany-Jo Liversage is in her element. With determination in her eyes, her vision begins to take shape. Spray can in hand, her body moves with the lines of the image. Liversage uses graffiti to create portraits that evoke the strength and boldness within everyday women. Her statement art speaks back to an issue close to her heart – the abuse of women’s rights, which threatens equality and female power. “Staying silent in the face of injustice has never been an option for me,” Liversage says.

The artist hails from the quiet city of Bloemfontein, but the striking work she creates is a stark contrast to her hometown. Fuelled with the drive to make a difference, Liversage purveys her thoughts and emotions through her spray can. “I’ve always enjoyed making art that has a public statement,” she says. But her mastery didn’t appear overnight. She began classes at the age of eight, and went on to study art at university. Liversage has since exhibited from Cape Town to Colombia, where she was granted a residency by the UNESCO-Aschberg programme for artists and cultural professionals.

Liversage’s success over the past two decades can be attributed to her unique style of art. What begins as bold, yet blurry strokes unfolds into a calculated visual story. The cacophony of the design draws you in, the intricately-crafted detail revealing the portrait’s deeper meaning. With her passion for communicating the narratives of dynamic women, Liversage is challenging South Africa’s art scene. “We all have the capacity to make a difference,” she says.

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