This spray can is my weapon for change
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.