Karlien de Villiers was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1975. She studied Graphic Design
and Illustration at Stellenbosch University. After graduating in 1997 she worked as a commercial
designer in an advertising agency in Cape Town. In 2006, she completed an MA in Information Design
at Pretoria University, and has worked as a Lecturer in Illustration and Graphic Design at
Stellenbosch University’s Visual Arts Department from 2006 to 2017.
She is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel ‘My mother was a beautiful woman’.
The novel was published in a German translation in Switzerland (Arrache Coeur/Edition Moderne),
and emerged as the second-best seller at the Fumetto International Comics Festival in Luzern in 2006.
The book has since been translated into French (Ça et La), Spanish (Glenat) and Italian (Comma22).
Rich with irony and the interrogation of taboos, De Villiers' stylized images contain
grinning skeletons, world-wise women, love-less liaisons and dejected sitters all seemingly
plucked from lives riddled with anxieties but handled with humour.
Her re-examination of what passes for perversion is couched in the symbols and
memorabilia of 1980s and 1990s South Africa; floral frocks and barking dogs.
In examining the dispiriting elements of
history, social issues have come under
violence, sexuality, gender and the