Zhané Warren approached Hentie van der Merwe in June 2007 with the idea of creating a series of etchings within a print collaboration, conceptually based on his music theatre project. For this project the artist developed a series of masks to be worn by the main character, ‘the messenger’. These masks refer to various animals from the world of Nama (Khoi) folklore such as the hare, lion, and eagle. The working drawings of the masks of the hare were the basis for his etchings made during two intensive working periods in January and April this year. At the onset the artist’s intention was to exploit the violent, seductive and ‘libinal’ qualities of the various etching techniques to enhance and underscore the ideas at play in each particular study of a mask.
Born in Windhoek, Namibia and now living in Cape Town, van der Merwe’s body of work has been dealing with aspects such as the body, violence, power and the archive. He attended the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) in Antwerp, Belgium (where Zhané Warren had met him) and continued to live in Antwerp for six years before returning permanently to South Africa in February 2007. He has had solo exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, the Tim van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium and Galerie Gabriele Rivet in Cologne, Germany amongst others. He has participated in group exhibitions held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; New York, USA; Cologne and Munich, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; Gent, Belgium; Rome, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden and Santiago, Chile amongst others.