Nicola Brandt has had her first solo exhibition in Namibia. The artist’s “The Earth Inside” combined video, photographs and an installation.
Brandt of German origin, was exploring Namibia’s heritage that is and was, using photographs to help the audience to understand their heritage. The exhibition that was held from 1 August – 23 August 2014 featured landscapes that are mostly empty, except for lonely figures and shadows. Member of Parliament Prof. Peter Katjavivi reflected on the exhibition by saying that Brandt not only stands behind the camera observing but also puts herself in the picture.
“She wears the dress of a Herero woman as she explores the heritage that connects her with that woman” Katjavivi added. Brandt traces some landscapes, in particular along the edges of the desert and along the coast near Swakopmund and Lüderitz. There are mass graves that exist in both these towns and are part of the subject that she has reflected upon.
These graves are in a terrible state of disrepair, unmarked, and merging into sand or rocky outcrops. In the case of Lüderitz, the cemetery captured in her photographs is hardly recognizable. These graves are likely to disappear with the ongoing construction work on the new railway line that runs beside it. With these photographs Brandt reminded her audience of the unfinished business of recovering their past and the need to preserve and maintain our heritage sites. Within the exhibition, she had a section dealing with photos and German family portraits, as well as other household materials.
Here she displayed images of Namibia and its people. Brandt dealt with images that may convey particular messages to different audiences. “I compliment Nicola for her use of different methods to draw together this rich exhibition and convey aspects of our past, while at the same time challenging us to acknowledge the violence that prevailed during the colonial period” Katjavivi said.