Kali van der Merwe was born in Johannesburg and re-named herself after the fierce Indian Goddess of creation and destruction.
Kali’s work merges boundaries between art, science, biology, astronomy and taxidermy, entering into the realms of imagination and magic. She explores trajectories between real and fictional, traversing nuanced interconnections between death and life. She recently had a solo show at Iziko South African (Natural History) Museum, which was well received by local and international audiences resulting in the museum extending the exhibition.
Kali’s formal study is a Fine Art Degree majoring in sculpture, yet while living in Berlin, she developed an interest in photography and filmmaking, and went on to an award-winning documentary film career spanning almost two decades.
Nine years ago, Kali moved from the city of Cape Town to her current location on a remote farm near the tiny village of Baardskeerdersbos. During this period in her mid forties, she became legally blind and found her world misty and blurred. After being unable to work properly, she experienced a dramatic restoration of her eyesight via cataract eye operations. Never taking her vision for granted, the fascination with beauty and miniscule detail attests to her renewed bionic vision.
Kali's inspiration surrounds her in the form of wild animals, plants and insects which she images in multiple mediums and immersive contexts hoping to inspire a sense of curiosity, connection and wonder.