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Artistic love as commerce

by Honorine Kaze




Driven by his passion for art, Siegfried April started a business, which deals with a side of art that is little heard of in Namibia.
Siegfried and his wife, Stella April run the Okahandja Fine Art cc they started in 2008 with the aim of promoting the manufacturing and marketing of artistic products.
Their business also deals with the training, wholesaling and retailing of art work. They refer to it as a ‘multispectral company’, meaning that it deals with visual and performing arts.
“After being involved in the art business for several years, my love for the art and my desire to improve my living condition and for other artists made me start this kind of business,” Siegfried says.
The business now employs three employees who are involved in the production of the different artistic patterns. Their visual arts are made of a combination of medium finished products.
Part of his business is to conduct artists-led workshops in order to improve their (artists) manufacturing techniques and marketing of their products.
They recently conducted a 30-woman training workshop whereby they taught the women the art of manufacturing different artistic products using dry reeds.
They have different products from shoes, bottles and flower vases or baskets - all made of reeds. Reeds are obtained from different plants after having being dried for a certain period of time.
Their products are sold according to their sizes as there are different sizes of baskets or bottles, for instance. Some of the products come either in sets of twos or threes. The prices range from N$120 for a set of three.
“We deliver our products, either in person or via courier services to those who do not live in Okahandja,” he adds.
Siegfried recalls that the beginning of the business was not easy as he had financial problems. However, he went ahead with what he had and things have improved since.
His future outlook is to make it even bigger and impact on more artists’ work.
“We have applied for a grant, which if we received, would enable us to employ more people. We are also planning to add a transport and packaging department in our business to keep enlarging it,” Siegfried says.
He laments that people involved in the art sector are not well looked after by the Government and that there should be more grants available for artists, even for the uneducated ones who are trying to make a living out of their talents.