Click portrait to access the interview
For more than a decade, Fiona Kirkwood has been creating works that address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and emphasize the role of condoms in combating the disease. Exhibitions such as Coats and Coverings (2000-01), which featured a coat woven from condoms, explicitly references the theme of ‘protection’; while Survival (2003-2008) draws attention to the female condom, a little-used but potentially valuable tool in the empowerment of women to protect themselves against HIV, STDs and unwanted pregnancy. (Bren Brophy, an arts-based health promotion worker and curator whose interview also features on this website, recalls that when Condom Coat was exhibited, boys were found to be taking sissors to the coat and absconding with the packets of condoms!) The Washing Line, exhibited in different places since 2006, subtly but powerfully suggests that gender inequality and sexual violence against women and children is one of the root causes of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. This work is discussed at length in Fiona's interview with Paul Sendziuk, accessible from this page.
Fiona Kirkwood was born in Scotland and is now a citizen of South Africa, having arrived in this country in 1975. Her sculptures and installations have been exhibited in Poland, India, Venezuela, Brazil, Australia and the United States. More information about Fiona's work can be found at her website: http://www.fionakirkwood.co.za.
'Pandemic Patient' [detail], full installation includes condoms, video and monitor, hospital bed and screens, cotton sheets, paper, beads, paint and steel, 220" x 300" x 80", 2000.