when you walk into the lower gallery of National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN), you will be greeted by a tall and lean figure. It’s the figure which mesmerises me the most down here - an old man they call the philosopher.
His face lines give me the impression that he has seen better days.
Right now I think, the old man who only has four teeth left in his mouth, is unhappy with something.
He is bald and appears naked although he does not have a penis. His right foot faces inward. He has a long stick he holds with both his hands. I think it’s for support.
I took a tour, looking at everything when I found myself stopping at a drawing by Walter Battiss titled Moving Birds. My first question was what is this hideous drawing doing amongst such fine art? But then in art what might be ugly and roughly done might be the finest art.
This drawing is a true work of a third-grader. The face in the drawing is of a human being. A pink face, with blue lips and brown ears and has a live bird in his mouth. There is a bird nesting in his ear and one walking up his nose. The person has more facial hair than is on his head.
Regardless of what you might think, this is not a fine work of art, just pure lazy work.
The Dreamer is a painting of a woman sitting on a purple couch. One arm rests on her belly and the other on the arm of the couch. Her legs are spread lazily and she wears a bra with the lower part of her body covered by a towel. My first gaze and all I could think from looking at her was ‘tired hooker’.
Get a chance to look at the corridor of doom, but that is just my name for this confusing picture.
You can create a different world just by turning a picture upside down or by flipping it from left to right. The corridor is something I am sure you have seen in your dreams before. When you are walking down a hall way and you never seem to get to the other side. That is what this picture looks like but at close observation, you will notice that it’s just a picture of a pavement aligned vertically next to its replica thereby creating the corridor.
Amongst a series of other paintings, and carvings, you should embrace in the lower gallery, on your way out; take a look at the four series of pictures titled The Harvest, Embrace My Heritage. These are pictures of a young man and a relative harvesting in the northern parts of Namibia. Nothing special there but it’s something we all miss while buried in this concrete jungle.
The art down there is a collection of the gallery and is for admiration only. Its child-friendly and should be given a chance once a Saturday morning.