Kyra Papé (Holz)

Kyra Simoné Papé (Holz), a young South African artist, born in 1993, and raised in Johannesburg focuses her practice on drawing, sculpture and printmaking. She is an abstract artist with a particular interest in materiality. She has her Master of Arts in Fine Arts by Research (2018) as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts Degree from the University of Witwatersrand (2015).

As the Robert Hodgins award winner (2014) she went on to jointly achieve the Top Achievers award in the Fourth Year Fine Arts Department at the University of Witwatersrand (2015). She was a sculpture finalist in the PPC Imaginarium awards (2016) as well as being nominated by Artist Press for the Queen Sonja Print Award (2017). Her sculpture was selected for the top 100 in the Absa Atelier, Give Art Light Exhibition (2018). In 2019 her work, Average (11.9 | 6), was purchased for the Modern Arts Projects collection, and she went on a six-week residency through SAFFCA at Entabeni Farm in Knysna with artist Fatima Tayob Moosa. In 2020, she was selected as one of the artists commissioned to make a work for Art Bank South Africa. Most recently Papé was selected as one of the artists for Sasol New Signatures (2023).  

Throughout her studies and practice as an artist, she has participated in numerous group exhibitions, fairs and has had a Solo Exhibition, Transude, in completion of her Master in Art, Fine Art degree at The Point of Order (March 2018).

Artist Statement

Kyra Papé is an abstract artist working with fluid mediums, exploring form and the disruption there of. With her interest being in the boundaries or non-boundaries that are being pushed, destabilised, or contained via her work and the materials, her practice is a response to her personal, emotional, and physical material experiences. 

Her work has begun to shift after experiencing a traumatic loss and moved towards an exploration of grief. While maintaining the ideas of boundaries or non-boundaries that are being destabilised, she is exploring the ebb and flow of grief, an all-consuming weight that is both a privilege and burden. The recent years have not been kind to many and have left a sorrow in the world for those still mourning, while others are able to carry on with their lives seemingly easily.

As mentioned, grief is both a burden and a privilege. It is this deep darkness and shift in emotion that she explores in her drawings. In grief there is an accumulation of feelings that feel as though they are at the edge of a cliff about to fall over or, at the brim of a surface about to spill out. Her drawings have been a personal means of grappling with the grace and beauty of death while fighting the emotions of loss. Grief’s darkness varies in shades, that has moments of life continuing around and through it, that is accompanied by gratitude and memory.

“I would simply like to move through the chaos, to find those beautiful moments of peace, to find balance. Water is present in my process and visually in the works. Water has become the perfect muse of chaos and peace for me. For while a pebble may only hit the water once, it will always have ripples. Can a single moment in water ever be isolated? Are our perceived ideas of permanence and boundaries just self-built to give us a small sense of control?” 

Image: Courtesy of artist