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About Artist

Kali van der Merwe: Kali was born in 1964 in Johannesburg. In her late 20’s Kali lived in Berlin for five years. During this time she expanded her creativity and became interested in photography. Upon her return to South Africa Kali became a documentary film maker and started to focus more on her photography.

Kali van der Merwe’s main artistic explorations take place in the dark, with the night as her photographic darkroom. Kali blurs boundaries between painting and photography with long exposures and a technique called ‘light painting’. Her work traverses nuanced interconnection between death and life, searching for the soul of form with light.

Kali holds a Fine Art degree focussed on sculpture from the University of Cape Town. Post formal study, she sojourned in Berlin “the capital of re-invention”. Returning to South Africa with an interest in filmmaking, she began a career as a documentary filmmaker. Her work combined social issue filmmaking with creative social development and her collaborative documentaries won multiple best film and jury awards at local and international film festivals.

After a successful 15 year film career, Kali followed a strong impulse to return to personal creativity in an intimate way. 7 years ago, a series of awakenings made it no longer possible to live in the noise and bustle of the city. She found creative refuge near the remote, micro village of Baardskeerdersbos in the Overberg of the Western Cape.

In rural silence, she plumbed her own depths in a series of photographic, mythological, transforming self-portraits. During this process, fynbos and fauna in her immediate surroundings, became subjects of inspiration too. Kali sees herself as a visual advocate on behalf of fragile and threatened wild animals and plants.

1991 – Courses in Lithography and Serigraphy at Kunsthaus Bethanien, Berlin.
1987 – Advanced Diploma in Art (with distinction) focussed on Ceramic Sculpture – Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town -.
1983 – 86 Bachelor of Arts in Sculpture (cum laude) Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.
2017 – Baardskeerdersbos Art Route – March
2016 – Fabula Nex – solo show at SPACE Rossouw Modern Hermanus, October
beyond Beyond, infinite and infinitesimal – photographic exhibition and installation – Prince Albert Gallery, Prince Albert.
Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, March
That Art Fair  Print Gallery
2015  beyond Beyond, infinite and infinitesimal – photographic exhibition and installation and experimental video – Cameraland Cape Town, curated by Jackie Ruth Murray.
Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, April and October
2014  Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, April and October
Group show – Skullduggery – The Studio Kalk Bay cape Town
Group show – Intimacies – Youngblood Gallery – Month of Photography Film and Video 6
2013 – Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, April and October
Botanical Exhibition at Print Gallery Woodstock
2012 – Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
“Dark Light” exhibited at the 5th Cape Town Month of Photography
Kalk Bay Modern Gallery
2011 – Baardskeerdersbos Art Route in the Overberg.
    AUTUMN MMXI, group show at MUSEUM Photographic Art Gallery, Woodstock.
2010 – Guest Artist at Baardskeerdersbos Art Route exhibiting photographic art works.
Photographed Deep Night, a contemporary dance theatre piece employing performance and multimedia elements to draw attention to the presence of HIV and AIDS in everyone’s lives,
2009 – “out of the blue” –  an exploration of sensual feminine energies photographed underwater – exhibited at Misael Space, Cape Town.
Commissioned to photograph the children’s eye ward at the Red Cross Children’s hospital for ORBIS, a global development organisation, dedicated to preserving and restoring the sight of the poorest people in the poorest communities across the world.
2008 – Commissioned to document the work of the Isisombulolo Programme, an HIV/AIDS care, prevention and treatment project that aspires to make a difference to the lives of people in the Southern Cape’s Eden District.
Commissioned to create a body of work for the TB/HIV Care Association, an NPO that aims to improve TB management by increasing access to TB and HIV diagnosis, care, treatment and community-based adherence support.
2007 – “Recovery of Body Mind and Spirit” – documentary photographs on permanent exhibition at   Brewelskloof Hospital, Worcester, Cape Town.
“Re:Search” – documentary photographs commisioned for SATVI – South African TB Vaccine Initiative, shown at the CTICC – Cape Town International Convention Centre. On permanent exhibition at University of Cape Town’s Medical School Campus
2006 – “Face the People” – portraits, stories and documentary photographs honouring 20  community health workers from various communities all across greater Cape Town was shown at Guga S’Thebe Langa, Lookout Hill Khayelitsha, UWC Library Belleville and Community House Salt River. The project was a commission from the Department of Health and Cape Metro District Health Services.
2005 –“Captive” a serried of experimental photographs shown at the Castle of Good Hope Cape Town as part of the Month of Photography
2004 –“out of time”, – video installation shown at the Brett Kebble Art Awards.
“Uhambo, Pieces of a Dream”, a multi-media installation created for the Mothertongue Collective shown at the main festival in Grahamstown and at the Intimate Theatre, Hiddingh Hall Campus UCT, Cape Town.
2003 –“digitalove” – video installation shown at the Brett Kebble Art Awards.
“digitalove” – video installation shown at YDESIRE at the Castle of Good Hope as the 4th Softserve art event.
2002 –“sense, erotic reality journey” shown at the Castle of Good Hope as part of the Month of Photography.
 “Call me Dog” curated an exhibition of photographs taken by marginalised youth on the Cape Flats. The exhibition is shown on the Hiddingh Hall campus of UCT as part of the Month of Photography and at the e-centre set up by Naspers. The photographs were published in Marie Claire Italy.
1999 – Curated exhibition “Iduma Elingopiyo, The Wound that does not Bleed” shown at the South African Library, Cape Town as part of 100 XC Photography in South Africa.
2015 – “While you still can” created for beyond Beyond exhibition exploring the decline of the diversity of species
2008 – “W-hole” – an experimental film on the exploration of the male arsehole screened at the Out in Africa Film Festival Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
2007 – Experimental short filmm “one-in-herself”
2006 – Experimental short film “Lone Ranger of the Deep”
2005 – Experimental short film “Captive”
2004 – “Brown” – a cross-genre, historical and musical documentary, the issue of forced removals is explored. Through the eyes of Ernie, a successful and talented young singer her grandparents’ and parents’ story of dispossession unfolds. The resilience of the family emerges as well as the high price they paid. It was funded by the Open Society Foundation. “Brown” was screened on SABC 1. Experimental short film “Out of TIme”
2003 – “Doing it!” – a 52 minute documentary funded by the Open Society Foundation, National Film and Video Foundation, The City of Cape Town and The National Association of Child Care Workers, explores issues around female sexuality. It was screened on SABC 1 for two consecutive years to commemorate National Women’s Day. It is still consistently used by organisations and workshop facilitators to stimulate debate around sexuality and HIV/AIDS. Experimental erotic short film “digitalove”. 2001 Directed and filmed “The lost generation” about forced adoption of children from mixed marriages during Apartheid years and “The New Hippies” an exploration of the Rustlers Valley Music festival for Media Sat, Italy. 2000 “The Bottom Line” – explores the excessive profiteering of pharmaceutical companies from AIDS drugs. The film was a commission for RAI Tre, Italy.
1999 – “Hair-Lines” 9 min. – an experimental insert for “But is it Art” on SABC 3 “Who’s News?” 26 min. – co–directed this documentary about women’s opinions of their representation the media. It was made for “Women’s Media Watch” a pressure group challenging racism, stereotyping and sexism in the media. The documentary is used to sensitise journalists around gender issues. 1998 “Iduma Elingopiyo, The Wound that does not Bleed” 60 min. co–directed this documentary exploring the lives of children and youth living on the streets of Cape Town, filmed over a period of two years and funded by The Royal Netherlands Embassy. The documentary has been made into a book by the same name. It was screened on SABC 1 in April 2008.
1996 – Co-founder of “Other-Wise media”, an organisation which produces awareness-raising media and trains youth and women in media skills.
1994 – Experimental one minute programmes for Park 4 D TV an Amsterdam based experimental cable television channel.
“Brown” – first prize in the African Documentary section of the 15th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival, Milan, Italy
“Brown” – Best South African Documentary at the 26th Durban International Film Festival
“Brown” – Best Documentary at the Apollo Film Festival in Victoria West, 2005, South Africa.
“Doing it!” – Audience prize at the Cinema delle Donne Film Festival, Turin, Italy;
“Doing it!” – Jury award at the Ismailia Film Festival, Egypt
“Doing it!” – Gold Stone award in from the National Television and Video Association South Africa (NTVA).
“Iduma Elingopiyo, The Wound that does not Bleed” – competing with feature films, the documentary came second in the Best Foreign Film category at the Adriatico Cinema Festival, Italy.
Awarded the McIver Women’s Bursary
“Iduma Elingopiyo, The Wound that does not Bleed” – competing with feature films, the documentary came second in the Best Foreign Film category at the Adriatico Cinema Festival, Italy.
Awarded the McIver Women’s Bursary
Kali van der Merwe