Ira van der Merwe

Reeds lang geleden werden wij (gelukkig) gewezen op het schitterende werk van Ira. Helaas kwam het door beide agenda's steeds maar niet van een expositie. Bij de South African Art Exhibition 1 -20 mei, mocht ze natuurlijk niet ontbreken. Een aantal werken zijn gedurende die expositie in de galerie (en natuurlijk leverbaar) andere werken kunnen besteld worden.

"Die weglaat van die agtergrond en konteks, verskaf nie net onverwagse interessante komposisies nie, maar laat my toe om op dit te fokus wat regtig vir my saak maak - diere van my pragtige land, Suid-Afrika".

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South African-born artist Ira van der Merwe is a woman with many stories to tell. The embodiment of creativity and education, she lives to learn, encourage, repurpose and create.

After obtaining her first qualification from the University of Pretoria in 2002 in Arts Education, Ira pursued a career in teaching and subsequently obtained an Honours degree in Art History from the University of South Africa in 2012. Her years as resident art teacher at Willowridge High firmly cemented her call to educate and she has since sought out every opportunity to teach, assist and facilitate, be it as volunteer or employee.

Most of her adventures and stories are the result of being half-Dutch and being wife to a travelling engineer-cum-academic. The challenges of ex-pat living are, however, bravely faced with a dash of humour and a can-do-attitude.

Ira’s current artworks are deeply soulful renderings of African animals. A recent addition is Swiss cow where she endeavours to make the alpine country her home. With the vivid similitude she achieves you cannot help but stretch out a finger to test the rough textures of kudu and buffalo horns or see if the cow's ears are really as soft as they seem.

She lets your imagination take flight, but she also lets a quietness and calmness settle around you and you find yourself drawn in to look closer. Ira has perfected the art of tracing the joy and sorrow in her subjects’ curves, folds and eyes. The lines and shades of her work communicate an empathetic understanding of chaos and pain. Yet, at the same time, there is always the faintest whisper of hope.