Diane Victor is a contemporary South African artist known for her drawings and prints that explore social injustice, war, and corruption. Made using charcoal and candle smoke, her portraits of missing children are among Victor’s most esteemed works. “The portraits are made with the deposits of carbon from candle smoke on white paper. They are exceedingly fragile and can be easily damaged, disintegrating with physical contact as the carbon soot is dislodged from the paper,” she explained. “I was interested in the extremely fragile nature of these human lives and of all human life, attempting to translate this fragility into portraits made from a medium as impermanent as smoke itself.”

Born in 1964 in Witbank, South Africa, she went on to receive her BFA from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1986. Inspired by the chaotic scenes of Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch, Victor’s practice aims at expressing her pessimism towards human society. The artist resides in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, among others.

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