Collection: Kirsten Lilford


“My work is about trying to make sense of a reality, whether it is my own or someone else’s.” 

Born in 1989, Kirsten Lilford is a South African artist who lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Her paintings depict everyday family life, yet have a strange and somewhat eerie quality to them. 

Inspired by suburbia 

Lilford’s love for painting inspired her to study for a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s in painting at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. She is inspired by everyday scenes that she witnesses in South Africa; Lilford’s work is a snapshot of domesticity and suburbia, which she portrays in an uncanny and often sinister way. 

Naturalistic style 

Lilford produces technically accomplished works which are inspired by the style of early 19th century realist painters. She has developed a distinct style which is both naturalistic yet influenced by contemporary practices. Lilford takes pictures of daily life for reference and then works with oils; she sees the act of applying paint as an game of chance, and allows the paint to flow and diffuse of its own accord. 

An artist to watch 

Lilford has already been incredibly successful both in South Africa and abroad, participating in solo and group exhibitions in South Africa, the UK, Australia and Italy. As a graduate, she won the South African Society of Artists Award for Excellence in Painting. Lilford’s work features in numerous private collections, such as the M&C Saatchi Collection and the Benetton Collection.