14 December 2012

Namibia: Imke Rust's Evocative Art Now On Exhibition

AN exhibition casting a critical eye on the controversial industrial developments at the coast has opened at Swakopmund.

The exhibition by Imke Rust opened just in time for the holiday rush at the Last Resort Wellness Centre in Swakopmund’s Libertina Amathila Avenue and will run until December 29 from Monday to Saturday.

Rust in her works attempts to address the current debates around plans for increased mining and industrial activities at the coast.

She uses a variety of media and approaches to highlight the concerns of the public and to search for alternative solutions in the environmental conflict.

On the one hand Rust paints a gloomy picture of possible disastrous long-term effects of current developments and on the other she reminds people of their responsibility to look after their land and use their rights to make changes towards a better future.

Central to the exhibition are temporary land-art works that Rust installed in the Namib Desert. These installations are presented through photographic and video documentation. Rust combines natural and man-made materials such as thorns, salt, dung, rubbish bags, barbed wire and videos in her work.

The exhibition was initially planned at the Woermannhaus gallery, but was turned away by the Swakopmund Arts Association because of limited space and because it did not want to add to the ongoing “emotional and partially unscientific” environmental debate.

The association’s views angered environmentalists and artists, who accused it of stifling artistic expression.

Said Rust at the opening of her exhibition last Sunday: “I am grateful that I am an artist, and I love Namibia; and I’m passionate about symbols and finding the answers to ‘why?’. This is why I combined these three elements to what is happening in and around Swakopmund with all the industries coming. I see this happening and I want answers to things I don’t like. This is what I try and express in my art.”

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