The Namibian (Windhoek)

22 January 2013

Namibia: Legacies of a Colonial Town

Namibia returns to Namibia via London in 'Legacies of a Colonial Town', an award-winning photographic exhibition on architecture and places in Namibia curated by Phillip Lühl on behalf of the Department of Architecture at the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN).

Presenting a timeline collage of historical images, maps and drawings juxtaposed with contemporary aspects of the city, while revealing its architecture and its inhabitation, the exhibition endeavours to expose some of the lasting legacies of Namibia's colonial history, and the contrasting spatial realities that define the contemporary, post-colonial city.

The exhibition was first shown as part of the British Council's Architecture and Design Showcase (IADS) in London in July 2012 where it won the Silver Pigeon Award for the best national contribution at the London Festival of Architecture 2012.

The award-winning collection of archival materials, artworks, and photographs can now be viewed at the National Art Gallery of Namibian (NAGN), and curator Phillip Lühl hopes it will inspire patrons to collectively think about the future of our country.

"For me it is important because I feel that we are continuing to develop our cities and towns roughly along the lines that were originally laid out in colonial times, and especially through apartheid planning in the 60s and 70s," says Lühl.

"Our everyday lives are much more influenced by the spatial legacy of that history than many of us would acknowledge. As a recently independent country, I think it is high time to collectively think about the future of our cities and how we can overcome some of those legacies of segregation, of inequality and of modernist planning."

Though Lühl admits the exhibition is not comprehensive, he hopes it will help raise some discussion around topics like urbanisation, housing, public space and public buildings.

To further these discussions, and in conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a series of public events organised around the topics of art and public space, architecture and urbanisation.

Usually these events take place on Saturday mornings, as the NAGN recently extended its opening times to welcome people on Saturdays. These events will be announced in due course.

'Legacies of a Colonial Town' will officially open at 18h00 on January 23 and will run until February 23 at the NAGN. Thereafter there will be refreshments and live music from the Original Jazz Masters. For more info: 061-231160 or email: secretary@nagn.org.na

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