20 February 2013

Namibia: Land Matters in Art Selects 152 Artworks

Artistic seeds planted in the hopes of harvest for the Land Matters in Art project have bloomed in a staggering selection of submitted artworks by new, established and amateur visual artists.

Whittled down from 270 entries by 128 artists to 152 pieces by a diverse and distinguished selection panel, there is no doubt that the Land Matters in Art project exhibition will present a wealth of opinions and interpretations regarding issues of land and its reform.

To ensure due diligence, the selection panel spent approximately 35 hours at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) in a thorough process that encompassed in-depth discussions and detailed analysis of the entries.

Members of the selection panel were designer, Max Edison, Martina Römer of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Director of the NAGN, Herklaas Viljoen, artist and Deputy Director of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, Ervast Mtota, Annaleen Eins of the Arts Association Heritage Trust and Meredith Palumbo of the University of Namibia's Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Speaking with regard to the 118 artworks that were not selected, Viljoen, cites irrelevance as the most detrimental factor.

"The main issues that disqualified artworks were irrelevance to the theme of land," says Viljoen.

"Artworks had to show convincing professional treatment of the chosen medium - especially in the professional category. Integration of material, concept and process were also often lacking."

In a bid to create a learning opportunity that would see unsuccessful artists fair better next time, the NAGN is planning a series of events inviting amateur and professional artists and the public to bring in their works for feedback and advice. Dates and times of these sessions are to be advised.

In terms of what can be seen, the exhibition will present an assortment of mediums including painting, sculpture, mixed media, cardboard print, photography, recycled plastic, video, art installations, one land art installation and the exhibition, 'Legacies of a Colonial Town'.

"From thought-provoking conceptual pieces exploring alternative media to excellently crafted realistic graphite drawings, the exhibition will represent a number of outstanding approaches, each addressing the topic of land from a different artistic perspective," says Viljoen.

"Each work expresses an idea relevant to the land matter in a unique way allowing many valid interpretations of those opinions, including aspects of land ownership and environmental concerns."

Adding interaction to the artistic process is Hanne Marrot-Alpers who is working to prepare her land art installation at the Omaruru River titled 'Is Our Water Safe in Your Hands?' Those who wish to follow this land installation's progress from start to finish can watch its development on Facebook at www.facebook.com/landmattersinart

Selected artists still unaware of their selection as well as the curious, can see a full list of successful applicants at www.land-matters-in-art.com/selected-artists/

To attend events in connection with Land Matters in Art, visit: www.land-matters-in-art.com/exhbition-and-events. The Land Matters in Art Exhibition will be held at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre, the Goethe-Zentrum and the NAGN between March 27 and April 26.

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