25 January 2013

Namibia: Legacies of a Colonial Town

The National Arts Gallery of Namibia this week opened the 'Legacies of a colonial town' an exhibition showing a timeline collage of historical images, maps, and drawings that are juxtaposed with contemporary aspects of Windhoek's architecture and its inhabitants.

The exhibition opened with the sounds of the Original Jazz Masters to reflect the true essence of the exhibition, and to highlight the specific era of Windhoek's growth that is also covered in the exhibition.

Set up by curator Phillip Luhl, Legacies of a colonial town was first shown as part of the British Council's Architecture and Design Showcase (IADS) held in London in July last year. It won the Silver Pigeon Award for the best national contribution at the London Festival of Architecture last year.

The local exhibition is an expanded version of what was exhibited in London. The focus is on pre-Independence Windhoek but there are also many images that chronicle the legacies of the country's colonial history. The material presented seeks to trace the complexity of production of space and habitation. This is in stark contrast to the spatial realities that define the contemporary, post-colonial city.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Hon Jerry Ekandjo said the purpose of the exhibition is not to showcase the best of Namibian architecture but to show how the built environment had become a reflection of historical political structures and a custodian of a collective memory and identity.

The opening exhibition was well-attended by the young and the old alike. It will also be presented in a mobile format so that it can tour the country for a wider public consumption. The exhibition will run until 23 February. Entrance is free.

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