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Kali van der Merwe

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Artist Bio
Kali holds a Fine Art degree cum laude majoring in sculpture from the University of Cape Town. Post formal study, she sojourned in Berlin “the capital of re-invention” returning to South Africa as a documentary filmmaker. She combined social issue film making with creative social development and her collaborative documentaries won multiple best film and jury awards at local and international film festivals. In a present transformation, living a rural existence in the Overberg, Kali combines creative photography, experimental film making, soundscape design and taxidermy installation as her mediums of exploration. Her work transfigures external form in a search for the immaterial, traversing nuanced interconnections between death and life.

1983 – 86 – Bachelor of Arts in Sculpture (cum laude) Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.
1987 – Advanced Diploma in Art (with distinction) focused on Ceramic Sculpture – Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.
1991 – Courses in Lithography and Serigraphy at Kunsthaus Bethanien, Berlin.

– Forthcoming solo exhibition at Rossouw Modern SPACE opening 7 October 2016
– beyond Beyond, infinite and infinitesimal – photographic exhibition and installation
– Prince Albert Gallery, Prince Albert. – Baardskeerdersbos, infinite and infinitesimal – photographic exhibition and installation and experimental video
– Cameraland Cape Town, curated by Jackie Ruth Murray.
– Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, April and October
– FILMOGRAPHY 2015 “While you still can” created for beyond Beyond exhibition exploring the decline of the diversity of species
– Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, April and October Group show
– Skullduggery – The Studio Kalk Bay Cape Town Group show
– Intimacies – Youngblood Gallery
– Participation in Month of Photography Film and Video 6 – Cape Town
– Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, April and October
– Botanical Exhibition at Print Gallery Woodstock
– Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
– “Dark Light” exhibited at the 5th Cape Town Month of Photography
– Kalk Bay Modern Gallery
– Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
– AUTUMN MMXI, group show at MUSEUM Photographic Art Gallery, Woodstock.
– 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
– “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 organization, dedicated to preserving and restoring the sight of the poorest people in the poorest communities across the world.
– 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.
– “W-hole” – an experimental film on the exploration of the male arsehole screened at the Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
– “Recovery of Body Mind and Spirit” – documentary photographs on permanent exhibition at Brewelskloof Hospital, Worcester, Cape Town.
– “Re:Search” – documentary photographs commissioned 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
– Experimental short film “one-in-herself”
– “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 Bellville and Community House Salt River. The project was a commission from the Department of Health and Cape Metro District Health Services.
– Experimental short film “Lone Ranger of the Deep”
– “Captive” a series of experimental photographs shown at the Castle of Good Hope Cape Town as part of the Month of Photography
– Experimental short film “Captive”
– “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.
– “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.
– “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.
– “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 organizations and workshop facilitators to stimulate debate around sexuality and HIV/AIDS.
2002 – “ssense, 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.
– 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.
1995 – “Tree of Life” – a sculptural installation on Achill Island, Ireland.
1994 – “:Abused Images” – an exhibition of 100 silk-screens at Cultura Vide, Haarlem Cultural Centre, Netherlands.
– “We the Japanese People” – a live electronic environment of film, text and sound. Performed at Vrieshuis America and The Silo, Amsterdam.
– Collective mural and exhibition at Wohlgroth, Zurich. Part of “Unwirkliche Geselschaft”
– three group exhibitions at the International Art House Duncker Stasse, Berlin.
1992 – “Earthly Delights” – a concrete, olive wood and stone installation, Malaga (Spain).
– “Illuminations” – sculptures made of light – exhibited at Duncker Strasse, International Art House, Berlin.
1990 – Work chosen for an exhibition of “Art from South Africa” at MOMA in Oxford, England.
– “God Dog” – Solo Exhibition of plaster prints – Market Gallery, Johannesburg.
– Group exhibition with Kevin Brand and Graeme Germond at Cornucopia Gallery Cape Town.
1988 – Group Exhibition – “Urban Eye” – at the Market Gallery, Johannesburg.
– Group Exhibition – “Figurative Ceramics” – at the Annex, Iziko South African National Gallery Cape Town.


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 organization 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.
1993 “Wounded” – short film shot on super 8 in Berlin.
AUDIOGRAPHY 2007 Soundtrack for the experimental video “one-in-herself” Soundtrack in collaboration with Kayla Witherkay for experimental video “W-hole”
2005 Soundtrack for the experimental video “Captive”
2003 Soundtrack for the experimental video “digitalove”.
2002 Recorded and mastered “The slice of bread that saved the world” and “A Shmek of Jewish stories” as told by Alec Gelcer. “Ssense” ambient installation for the photographic exhibition.
1999 “The last Drop” – 40 min radio programme in collaboration with Maria Mar, New York based shaman, storyteller and performer.
1994 “We the Japanese People” – created and mixed live sound track for the electric environment performance at Vrieshuis America and The Silo, Amsterdam.
DESIGN 2013-16 Poster and pamphlet design for the Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2006 Poster, exhibition invites, DVD cover for the exhibition “Face the People” funded by the Cape Town Metropolitan District Health Services.
2005 Poster, flyers and video cover for the documentary “BROWN”
2003 Co-created and designed the book “Long Life” which tells the story of 13 HIV positive women from Khayelitsha through art works, photographs and narratives. Published by Double Storey Press.
Poster and invitation for the “Long Life” exhibition.
Logo, pamphlet and posters for Annex CDW (Artists and activists against the exploitation of Child Domestic Workers). Posters, flyers and video cover for the documentary “Doing it!”
Other-Wise media web site.
2000 Design and layout of a photographic book based on the documentary “Iduma Elingopiyo” published by Other-Wise media.
Funded by Umverteilen Stiftung fur Eine Solidarische Welt.
1999 Posters, pamphlets and newsletters for Women’s Media Watch and Other-Wise media.
1995 Created limited edition book “Abused images” – video stills and texts.

– “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 Mc Iver Women’s Bursary
– Awarded the Irma Stern Scholarship