an art exhibition currently run by the National Art Gallery from a collection gathered over decades is a kaleidoscope of different ideas.
What immediately took hold of and clung onto my attention was the photographic collage on canvas used to decorate a wooden window done by artist Yens Kyl.
Yens Kyl’s conspicious artwork is a turbulent, almost flamboyant affair candidly inspired by Song of Songs.
The current exhibition hosted by the National Art Gallery in the centre of Windhoek is overcrowded with artworks that have anyone carried away, yet once I saw Kyl’s, I grew oblivious to any other piece of work.
His artwork is a wooden window straight from the medieval times reminding one of the decor of medieval church roofs.
Kyl’s work carries a strong biblical sense of Rembrandt’s art depicting biblical texts and the personification of a songwriter’s phrase.
On one window lingers the phrase of Friederich Schiller’s Ode of Joy; a newer version.
“Joy, beautiful spark of gods, daughter of Elysium, we approach fire-drunk, heavenly one, your shrine, your magics reunites, what customs sternly divides, all people become brothers,” it reads.
On another window echoes the yearning of a female lover, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from mount Gilead. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet and thy speech is comely; thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.”
Just a few steps away is the mounted artwork of Anita Heystek; a painting etched in 1946.
Her painting is a picture of sheer depression, a whitish cloth with just the black stripes to line out the character in the painting. No splashing of colours, just a black, white and grayish canvas depicting escapism.
It is a painting of an awfully silent fight with oneself in order to escape and rid oneself of unwanted baggage.
As if the painter wishes to put on a new jacket in the absence of the previous worries and sadness.
It speaks volumes of a person’s yearning to escape a dreadful place and in doing so, one may even end up choking on the very things one wishes to escape from.
Says the artists Anita Heystek, “It is those earthly worries like finances, relations; all those things that go wrong and that we would like to escape from. The artwork indicates a time for change, this is the time to become a better person.”
National Art Gallery of Namibia joined hands with Arts Association Heritage Trust to exhibit artworks to promote artists in Namibia.