The one thing independence offered Namibians was the ability to finally revel in the authenticity of our cultures and customs and be gratified in the delightfulness of our own landscape, freely albeit under the leadership of those we elected.
What it did not offer, however, was the opportunity for those same leaders to exploit land, as their enrichment has since come at our expense. That, to me, is exactly what the ongoing ‘New Beginnings’ exhibition at the Katutura Community Art Centre (KCAC) is all about. It has been showing since early last month but from the looks of things, it is likely to showcase for a while.
Although the graduates were asked to create new, original work, the resulting effect gives off a perfect dichotomy.
Take Frans Nambinga’s painting of the Ovamboland outdoors, ‘Ondonga Land’, for example. It’s clean, immensely detailed and simple; aesthetically amazing. It is early autumn and much of the grass is brown and withered and although many of the trees bloom green, there are slivers of brown on the makalani palm trees, spreading like menacing gangrene on this painting.
In contrast is Tafadzwa Gatsi’s drawing tilted ‘Destruction For Profit’. It is a grisly sketch of ebony in an anthropomorphic form, in a business suit. Trees sprout out of the holes in the suit and from where human hands should show is an axe on one side and a machete on the other. All around the being is nothing but barren land with scattered stumps of what once was a beautiful forest.
‘We all want more than this world has to offer’, ‘More money for the poor’, exclaims Ilovu Homateni’s painting, ‘Inequality’. In it, there is a homeless man, weary and alone, who, in his destitution looks up to the heavens as his only hope.
Totally the kind of artwork you wouldn’t want to hide in your bathroom walls, however clean.