Live Virtual Auction, 9 November 2021

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Lot 304
Diane Victor; The Three Fates
  • Diane Victor; The Three Fates
  • Diane Victor; The Three Fates

Lot Estimate
R 160 000 - 180 000
Selling Price

About this Item

South African 1964-
The Three Fates
signed and dated 2011 twice
ash drawing on paper
191 by 270cm excluding frame; 206,5 by 291,5 by 5,5cm including frame


In this work Diane Victor employs the iconic, mythological image of the Three Fates who control the thread of life. Re-imagining them here as domestic workers, she disrupts deeply embedded, taken-for-granted perceptions and “taps into the unravelling thread of our social fabric”.1
The Three Fates, an ash drawing originally presented at her University of Johannesburg show Ashes to Ashes and Smoke to Dust in 2012, is an example of Victor’s cutting-edge artistry and technique. The technique of using ash as a drawing medium developed from her printmaking practice. In the printing technique of aquatint, rosin dust is sprinkled onto an etching plate to create texture and tone. The ash, however, provides more lively, deeper tones and softer effects. Victor creates the dust and ash for this drawing by burning significant books; she references this act by including the books in the drawing, bottom left.  Victor’s unique way of breaking the habits of complacent viewing presents a potentially contentious issue, in a gentle and sympathetic manner.

1. Karen von Veh (2018) ‘Diane Victor’s Upside Down World’, in Jeanne van Eeden (ed) littleHistory: Diane Victor, exhibition catalogue, Bloemfontein: University of the Free State.


University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, Diane Victor: Ashes to Ashes and Smoke to Dust, December 2011 to January 2012.

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