Fire Walker

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The Fire Walker is a public art sculpture in Johannesburg’s inner city. The piece is located on Sauer and Simmonds Street, off of the Queen Elizabeth Bridge. The sculpture represents a woman carrying a brazier on her head in commemoration of the activity which took place in the area in recent years, when ladies would prepare and sell their fires to others preparing food in the surrounding areas.

Designed by William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, the 10 m-tall sculpture was constructed of fragmented steel pieces to create the feeling of the figure disintegrating or becoming reassembled, depending on the angle from which it is viewed, hinting at the fragility of spaces and the people who pass through them.

The piece has been called “Johannesburg’s own Statue of Liberty[by whom?].” The Fire Walker is one of many pieces found amongst Public Art in Johannesburg.