Nambowa Malua captures movement in Oudano

Brisk fingerings on a lone guitar suspends in the air fragments of sounds within the spacious insides of Katutura College of the Arts gallery.

Outside, a gust of wind picks off the dust as if it were some harbinger of a brewing storm collecting in the accumulating clouds sky high.

Here at the centre of creativity in this old location of Katutura, artists trickle in and go about viewing what few art pieces are on display; some huddled on pedestals, some suspended in air by clips and wool.

It is the John Muafangejo Season 2017 after all.

Musicians, artists, poets, dramatists, smoking art enthusiasts and creative minds some of whom have refused to be defined, have all gathered to pay their homage to Namibia’s veteran, John Muafangejo himself.

It is in the noise of it all and the dullness of a little crowd that I am perched on one of the many clustered plastic chairs with a beer I have not bought.

Before me, one of Namibia’s renowned digital paint artist fiddles with brushes, paint and the canvass as he readies to spurt his creativity on the wall before him.

His work, which he later is to tell me is titled Oudano (Act of dancing), comes out of the potential of paint, the successive shots of anger from the brushes, the power of creativity and embrace the of canvass.

As if conjured out of the impenetrable mysteries of a dream, a lady emerges hands stuck out, feet as nimble on the floor in a choreographed motion that speaks to flexibility and flawlessness.

All that seems to matter, Nambowa coalesces into everything that matters at this moment, the non-existent become the existential elements that tie around Oudano.

Nambowa is no average artist; very much aware is he of the mystical power of combining light and darkness to bring out fantastic visions.

He captures motion in a split second. He eternalises a passing moment and compresses it with extreme flawless beauty that it is not easy to miss a typical Malua work.

The dance is sentimental, and it fades into an almost spiritualistic dream as the artist tries hard to alter what available object there is on his work to remove the entire equation traces of location and time.

His work boldly speaks to the universality of art. Movement, motion and emotion obsess Malua, and he demonstrates his love for the most ancient, the timeless and that which matters little within the confines of an existential world- pure motion.

Oudano is soulful, lingering and compelling. Here, colours mesh together into some disorganized Kaleidoscope that finds new patterns, making his painting almost like a mirage. 

The phantasmagoric and romantic elements in the act of dance are quite flattering, yet the background is entirely abstract and explodes into a Nirvana of gods and demons gripped in the moment of rhythm and the throbbing sounds of some unseen drums and cymbals, or sax tremolo…

“I want you to help me with this art and speak on where you think I am making a mistake,” Malua says as we set to go buy some beer, to relax his mind and take leave from the strong stench of spray paint.

How does one correct art? Art is never wrong. Mistakes are the mother of novel horizons that usher in sharper images which celebrate the beauty of shades.

These are the lessons I take from my observations of this art maverick. Maybe I praise him too much to the extent of deification?

It is easy for me to see that Nambowa struggles to reach the same acute intensity in oil on canvas such as he attains on digital paint.

His ability to dare master both demonstrates a deeper level of the commitment to art, a lifestyle of the creator of situations. 

We later exit the art college almost drunk with the illusions of poetry, music and beer canes into the thick darkness which smells of the crispy fragrance of upcoming rains.

The experience was priceless!