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Biography of Fiona POLE

South Africa > Arts : Fiona POLE

Fiona POLE
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Born on 19/06/1974 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Fiona Pole (Born June 19,1974) is a South-African artist.

Fiona Pole was born in 1974. She graduated from Rhodes University, Grahamstown with a Bachelor of Fine Art (honours), and has been working in Europe since 1996. "The starting point - London - the base from where I travelled and worked for two and a half years. After several visits to France, I decided to move to Paris.

Motivated to learn French and study further I enrolled at a language school and at an atelier for etching. A few months later the daunting task of entrance interviews for l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure Estienne - a school specialising in graphic arts and arts related to books, was undertaken.

Accepted into the section of etching and engraving, the next two years were spent perfecting my French and working in the print workshops

Fiona Pole became the first South African artist to complete a printmaking diploma (with honours) at this prestigious institution. In Fiona Pole's final year, letters were sent to a group of famous South Africans requesting them to relate one of their favourite childhood memories. The 8 replies received were used as the basis for a printmaking project, which was, awarded the highest honour by a jury of 20 professionals. The project has toured around France, been on exhibition in the United Kingdom and was shown in September 2003 as part of the Arts Alive Festival at Art on Paper, a gallery in Johannesburg.

Since completing her diploma at l'Ecole Estienne Pole has been working as an artist and part-time translator. New projects include a series of cityscapes and a project to celebrate 10 years of democracy in South Africa for 2004.

Fiona Pole has a quiet and unassuming way of getting to key issues in an original fashion. She recently worked with a group of children, all born in 1994 (the year of South Africa's liberation and first democratic elections) and asked them to describe their sense of what South Africa is about. Working with these "freedom" children and then having asked well known South Africans who have helped shape the political and social reality of these children, (to describe a event from their own childhood) is wonderful way of working with the cyclical narratives of personal histories as a way of describing the national history.

Pole is fascinated by the urban structures that people live within. Living in Paris and having been raised in Johannesburg has led to her awareness of the art deco buildings in both cities. The people of Johannesburg largely ignore these buildings and their fine lines as they get on with their lives on the streets and interiors of these structures.

In the series of four lithographs that Pole worked on at The Artists' Press she examines some of these buildings. Her choice of colour is warm and removed from the actual colours of the buildings. They create a sense that is both intrinsically African but at the same time harks back to early twentieth century prints done in Europe.

Fiona Pole is a young artist with a determined vision that is refreshing in its scope and originality.

Last update : 07/08/2008

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