Kaili Smith was born in the Netherlands (1995) and raised in Australia, he now lives in New York.
Kaili’s current work examines inner-city youth culture, offering alternative perspectives through paintings and film. The work is influenced by his upbringing and experiences growing up as a child aswell as teaching experience and research into behavioral pyscholgy.
His earlier works looked at different people whose lives have been subjected to globalization and merging cultural influences. From migrants fighting to enter Europe on the Moroccan border, too graffiti painters in Istanbul.
Kaili has had numerous gallery & museum exhibits in Europe and the US. He sold out his graduation show In July of 2018 at WDKA in Rotterdam where he received a bachelors degree in fine arts. This was followed up by his Debut UK solo show with Thinkspace at Moniker art-fair which also sold out. He is now pursuing a master's degree in New York after receiving a full scholarship at Parsons School of design.
His painting series "The Petit Prince" can be traced back to early childhood years were the book was often read to him by his french speaking mother. The painting series takes inspiration from the story & characters, colliding them with elements & themes of the environment Kaili grew up in. Having lived half his life in Australia and half in the Netherlands, both times in diverse inner city areas. The paintings recreate a world that is based on these environments. The works look at different aspects of everyday life as a youth. From mundane scenarios of friendships & connectivity, some paintings also look at the perspectives of young people growing up in environments where they are often faced with elements of criminality around them, showing both children simply getting by in these environments or ones who have become involved. The use of baroque styled costumes which play on themes of European royalty, are not a signal on current privileges but rather show visions of a “come up” and reflect class aspiration these children have.
In 2017 he had a solo show in Rotterdam The Netherlands at Sober Collective Gallery. The show was titled “Reflection of our times”, which was based on his latest painting series which looked into the parallels popular-culture music have on our daily lives. The paintings were shown along with a 18 minute video-work on the topic of globalization.
His first ever solo show "Europe or nothing”, was a public pop-up show in Rotterdam's busiest street the “Lijnbaan” organized by Gallery RR. The multi-media exhibition gave an insight into the day to day life of migrants trying to cross the border towards Europe. In 2015, with strong right wing protest on immigration in Europe, it was an important time to discuss this subject. The exhibition included paintings, photography, installation work, a short projected documentary as-well as a series of poems read out displayed on screen from Mariboudou Keita both a migrant & writer from West Africa trying to cross the Moroccan border into Europe.
He has also been involved in several group shows with Thinkspace gallery based in Los angels. Who have shows over the world, most notably a group show at Honolulu museum of art, where he debuted his first painting from the Petit Prince series. This was followed by another group show at Museum of Art & History in Lancaster. Also he has taken part in a collection of art fairs & gallery shows including Miami scope during Art Basel week.
A growing aspect to his practice and one of the main focuses during his MFA program is writing & directing short films. He recently wrapped up his second short film titled "It's good to have you here". And is in the process of finishing of several more film scripts.
Kaili is currently half way through his MFA course and takes the scholarship opportunity from Parsons very seriously. The school offers a wide range of opportunity for artistic growth both in his painting and film work. His next solo show is aimed for October 2019 in Los Angles and set to be his biggest yet.