"Nature is what moves me. There is an honesty in the natural world that can truly ground you in the moment."
––Emily Kirby, Painter
Emily Kirby is a Zambia-born figurative painter. She centralizes a single form on canvas and uses a unique color-blocking technique to convey emotion and movement. She is deeply inspired by her home country, and says her bold, abstract shapes and color palettes are influenced by her childhood years in Africa. Motivated to raise awareness around the global environmental crisis, Kirby typically paints people or wildlife in some sort of struggle, producing a powerful emotional effect in her viewers.
Kirby was born in a rural part of Zambia in the early eighties. Growing up in a family of artists, her creativity and passion ignited at an early age. After attending Brighton City College in the UK to study art, Kirby set up her first studio in 2008 while living in Stone Town, Zanzibar and has been working as a full-time artist ever since. Kirby’s work is informed by time spent in Zambia’s natural parks, as well as all the other distinct places she’s lived (Spain followed Africa, and now back the UK). Important artistic influences for Kirby include Marlene Dumas, Peter Doug, and Matisse.
Kirby currently lives in Brighton, but regularly returns to Africa to visit family, paint, and show work. Kirby has exhibited internationally in cities including London, Lusaka, Dubai, New York, Prague and Valladolid. In 2012 Kirby was awarded The Ngoma Chairman’s Award for Visual Arts by the Zambian Arts Council. She is currently featured on the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020.