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 a remote, micro village. 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.