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Urban Mythology - a solo exhibition

Fri, 20 January 2017 15:49
by Ester Simon


The National Art Gallery of Namibia is currently running Chris Snyman’s solo exhibition featuring mythology in statues.
The exhibition that closes on 28 January can be interpreted as the artist’s expression of many European originated mythologies and the art of sculptor Michelangelo.
The Urban Mythology is Chris’s first solo exhibition with a symbolic selection of paintings and sculptures made of bronze, steel and concrete to explore the diverse ways in which the country was constructed by public imagination.
What captures attention as soon as you enter the gallery is a sculptured face of a serious man with horns growing out on his head.
The dark brown serious looking face is placed on a wooden stand, which further compliments the brown look.
This masterpiece on display is a blockbuster perfection that captures Snyman’s creative impulse, which seemingly brings out of his promethean creativity - a surprising image bordering on the perceived power of men.
The horns, which daringly stick out taking on the shape of the ram, brings out the beauty of the masculine aspects of life, the brutal forces of a destructive man-image set to ruin and protect at the same time.
The expression of the art piece’s visage is seemingly eerie, almost without any semblance of empathy yet at the same time depicting images of the fearless, the brave and brutal.
His second untitled work, borrows a lot from the European medieval art-giants in the make of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael Santi and the like, with Snyman’s seemingly obsession with nudity bringing the entire ancient era of romanticism to the modern age.
The artist’s perfect merging of the bird with the woman creates an interesting dichotomy where he  leaves to the viewer the freedom to either deduce love or hate between human and fauna, embracing or rejection between nature and human emotion.
Yet for Snyman, he is caught between his quest for revisiting Greek mythology and the need to bring to Africa an art free from Greek illusionist creativity.
In an exclusive interview with The Villager Newspaper Metro Snyman said his passion for arts was inborn.
“I believe that every child is born an artist. As we grow older some of us stay creative and we stay dreamers and stay true to a creative calling,” he said.
 The aim of the exhibition is not to illustrate urban mythologies, but to analyze them in conjunction with the artist’s own subjective point of view, which leads to a shared experience between the artist and the audience.
Chris really showcased his creative potential through his contemporary art practice which revolves around the themes of broader socioeconomic and historical context and it examine the changing image of Namibia from the local grassroots level to the international perspective.
According to the curator of Fine Art Gallery in Swakopmund, Martina Von Wenzel, Urban Mythology bridges the role from presentation of modern folklore consisting of fictional stories to cutting-edge contemporary art with the aim of interweaving the historical and contemporary events that have shaped and continue to impact our country and its inhabitants.
She further added that traditionally a mixture of text and images were used to portray storytelling, elevating the power of the legend as it passed through generations.
Snyman holds a palette of diverse emotions from which he paints an array of moods.
He portrays human relations and contrasting emotions in glorified masculine and feminine nudes; with centaurs and angels as his subject matter.