biography

- by Alexa Anthony

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 art 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 traveling 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 animals 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.


press | publications

Ennetbadener Post . Page 14 . Nr. 3 . July . 2018

Rundschau . Page 15 . 14 June . 2018

Aargauer Zeitung . Page 28 . 28 February . 2018

Frauenfelder Woche . Page 18 . 6 December . 2017

Stadt Frauenfeld . Page 49 . 1 December . 2017

Thurgauer Nchrichten . Page 21 . 30 November . 2017

Frauenfelder Woche . Page 32 . 29 November . 2017

Salon d'art Contemporain . MAG . Page 150 . 2017

Anzeiger von Uster . Regio . Page 9 . 23 November . 2017

House & Garden – The Art Edit . Page 145 . August . 2017

House & Garden – The Art Edit . Page 145 . July . 2017

Bündner Nachrichten . Page 8 . 19 May . 2017

House & Garden – The Art Edit . Page 281 . June . 2017

Boesner . Page 55 . 2016/17

Bregitte . Page 2 . October .2016

Anzeiger Bezirk Affoltern . 16 May . 2016

The Diplomat . 26 April . 2016

Seesichtmagazin, Nr. 1 March/April .2016

Zürichsee-Zeitung . Page 9 . 15 February .2016

Zolliker Bote . 13 October . 2015

Anzeiger Bezirk Affoltern . 27 May . 2015

Zürichsee-Zeitung . Page 9 . 17 October .2014

Zolliker Bote . 10 October . 2014

Anzeiger Bezirk Affoltern . 20 June  . 2014

Zolliker Bote . 4 March . 2014


exhibitions

KIT-Galerie . Solo . Ennetbaden . Switzerland . 2018

Kunst in Spreitenbach . Duo . Spreitenbach . Switzerland . 2018

Galerie Baliere . Duo . Frauenfeld . Switzerland . 2017

Salon d'art Contemporain . Art Fair . Montreux . Switzerland . 2017

Villa Meier-Severini . Group Exhibition . Zurich . Switzerland . 2017

Galerie Obertor . Duo . Chur . Switzerland . 2017

KunstAusleih . Group Exhibition . Zollikon . Switzerland . 2016

Gallerie Loeffel . Solo Exhibition . Basel . Switzerland . 2016

KunstAusleih . Group Exhibition . Zug . Switzerland . 2016

Galerie Patries van Dorst . Group Exhibition . The Hague . NL . 2016

Gallerie, Loeffel . Solo Exhibition . Basel . Switzerland . 2016

Art333 . Group Exhibition . Switzerland . 2016

Junction . Group Exhibition . Zurich . Switzerland . 2016

Gallerie, Loeffel . Solo Exhibition . Basel . Switzerland . 2015

KunstAusleih . Group Exhibition . Zollikon . Switzerland . 2015

KunstAusleih . Group Exhibition . Zug . Switzerland . 2015

KunstAusleih . Group Exhibition . Zollikon . Switzerland . 2014

Galleria Scalia . Solo Exhibition . Baden . Switzerland . 2014

KunstAusleih . Group Exhibition . Zug . Switzerland . 2014

S!NG Exhibition . Stellenbosch . SA . 2010

Shofar Creativity Expo . Durbanville Hills Estate . Cape Town . SA . 2010

Shofar Creativity Expo . University of Pretoria . SA . 2008

UP Annual Student Exhibition . Pretoria . SA . 2002

UP Annual Student Exhibition . Pretoria . SA . 2001

UP Annual Student Exhibition . Pretoria . SA . 2000

Inscape Design Collage Annual Student Exhibition . Pretoria . SA . 1999


invited talks | workshops

Arty Birthday Party – Collective Art Workshop . AWIE . Zurich . 2 June . 2017

Ewok Birthday Party Workshop . AWIE . Zurich . 22 October . 2016

Dinner Art Talk . Galerie Patries van Dorst . The Hague . The Netherlands . 18 May . 2016

Star Wars Arty Birthday Party Workshop . AWIE . Zurich . 30 November . 2015

The Voice – Germany . AWIE . Zurich . 8 May . 2015

Art & Society Invited Talk . ICS . Zurich . 22 October . 2014

Gelli Printing Workshop . AWIE . Zurich . 31 January . 2015

Children’s Art - Christmas Fundraiser . Galeria Scalia . Baden . 20-25 December . 2014

Swarovski Team Building . Swarovski HQ . Zurich . 22 November . 2014

New Re – Team Building . AWIE . Zurich . September . 2014

Arty Birthday Party – Multi Media Workshop .  8 April . 2014

Kindergarden Workshop . ICS . Zurich . 2 February . 2014

Creative Spark Invited Talk & Workshop . Tandem . Zurich . 21 January . 2014

ABB – Team Building Workshop . AWIE . Zurich . 20 October . 2013

Jewish Youth Workshop . Jüdische Lib. Gemeinde . Zurich . 21 September . 2013