UNAM students break into the National Art Gallery
The ongoing University of Namibia students’ exhibition can at best be defined as protest art donning the garb of a queer Bohemian temperament with all the hallmarks of China’s Ai Wei Wei and Europe’s Banksy.
The protest is dichotomous, departing from the point of disgust at the social establishments and arriving at the rendezvous of anarchical liberty and poetic justice.
It jeers at rigid perceptions of art and undresses creativity, thereby breaking the barriers of thought into an unlimited realm.
The artists are unrestrained and daring, and they find pleasure in the new narrative, that which seeks to confound regimented political philosophies and social norms and declaring a new social order from the ruin of the past.
That the National Art Gallery has welcomed these raucous screams of psychic protests speaks volumes of how the intellectual establishments of Namibia put first the sacrosanct right to the inalienable freedom of conscience.
The conservatives may be shocked at such a flaunted nature of liberal creativity just at the same time as the contemporary moral revolutionary would laud these rich but pensive patterns of evolving art.
The footmarks of Asia’s most controversial and world renowned conceptual artist, Ai Wei Wei have not only been reignited in the flames of the artistic blast-furnace, but his image has been brought right into that conflagration.
Wei Wei is one artist whose works have derived from his political protests to the point where the artist’s way of life becomes the basis of art.
So profound is this theory that it has resonated with the contemporary protest artists, tired of the monotony of organised society.
It is by no surprise that young artists from the country’ prestigious university have embraced this cultic figure that seem to inspire the lines of each and every of the works arrayed in the NAGN.
Ndapewa Shikwambi’s Make-up is breathtakingly conceptualised, a break off from the old norms of paint on canvass that discovers new horizons and forms of expression.
Salomon Ngeteeka’s use of spray paint brings the image of Misbehaving Manikie, a direct assault to the political hat draws mixed feelings.
Ngeteeka plays with a very cultic symbol of politics in Namibia, the raised fist of revolution, black power and emancipation raises the middle finger to insult.
The artist seeks relevance from controversy, typical of the new age rising generation of artists who find refugee from the fold where “anything goes.”
He plays on dark humour and wads into unfamiliar territory.
Here Ai Wei Wei energises the creativity, as the artwork is reminiscent of the photograph of his hand raising the middle finger at the Eiffel Tower.
It is Benjamin Goa-Eiseb whose REBEL against oppressors rightly capture the visage of this Chinese creative genius in fine liners, markers and acrylic paint.
Peter Mwashindange takes after Banksy’s balloon girl to expose the harmonious energy between man and animal.