After Bettie Cilliers-Barnard’s return from Paris to South Africa in 1972, there
was a definite return to figurative subjects in her art. A search for a new identity
and a contemplation of man’s place in society became important themes in her
work. This totem-like figure of a female “patriarch”, surrounded by other
vertical figure-like shapes in rectangles, is typical of this new direction in her
oeuvre. The sun-dusk in her breast and the bird-like shape on her head are
symbols of wholeness and freedom.