The Namibian (Windhoek)

15 March 2013

Namibia: Kooky Kids At the FNCC

opinion

THERE are moments in a single woman's life when she remembers why it is she isn't frantically trawling the streets for a willing sperm donor even though she is rapidly approaching the age most notable for its 90 percent drop in her viable eggs.

Sometimes they're when she sees a toddler screaming his head off in the toy section of the supermarket, other times it's when she encounters that same toddler wiping his nose gold on the hem of his mother's skirt and, on rare occasions, it's when a child of Chucky saunters into the FNCC gallery while she's trying to view John Sampson's exhibition and starts switching the lights on and off like it's some demonic disco.

Though I hate to indulge my inner Mr. Wilson, this young girl was an unrepentant Denise the Menace the likes of which my most severe stink eye could not deter. In fact, my withering looks, which have been known to reduce witches to puddles screeching 'What a World!', simply had the baffling effect of making her burst out laughing and increase the speed of the lunatic light show.

As I live in a world where taking a sjambok to other people's evil offspring is both frowned and sued upon, I decided to threaten to take her picture and show it to her teacher whom I assumed was upstairs contemplating a change in career considering the circus worthy noise emanating from the second floor.

Her response to this was to strike a pose and pull a duckface I guarantee was inspired by Kim Kardashian rather than Daisy Duck before running up the stairs in a fit of laughter so mocking it took me a while to remember that she is simply a seven year old girl, not some wench who has accidently (on purpose) spilled red wine down my dress and has proceeded to cackle at the fact like a women possessed.

Though my thoughts started veering into silent tirades all titled 'Kids These Days!' my mute meanderings were cut short by two older girls from the same school strolling down the stairs to look at the art.

Suddenly my faith in children born in the millennium was restored. I thought about how I may be in the presence of Namibia's next John Muafengejo and I even contemplated getting both their autographs in case they'd be worth something one

day and could save me from the inevitable bankruptcy of being a writer.

This was until I realised that they were standing behind me not so quietly laughing at the intensity with which I was regarding a picture of some sand while rapidly entering notes into my BlackBerry. One of their thoughts on all this was: 'My sister also has that phone for Facebook,' before they started to regard the exhibition in earnest.

Naturally, this included manhandling one of Sampson's 'Imposition' paintings, inquiring "Is this kamma art?" at the sight of his 'Prajna' series and bursting into echoing fits of laughter when they discovered his pencil drawing of a vagina.

Happily, and in a way that did much to restore my faith in my bitch face when used on people 11-years-old and older, one look from me sent them scampering up the stairs in a display of contrition that made the wicked witch in me cackle with success.

With that said, there is still hope. Because while the one girl took the lead in being an utter buffoon, her somewhat silent sidekick looked at a Surimono collage, snapped her fingers in glee and said "I could do that!"

And maybe she could. Maybe she'll grow up to be the best thing that ever happened to the art world and, in this endeavour, I will keep her in my prayers hoping her mother bans her from Facebook, beats her tolerably for her cheek and grounds her often enough that she has enforced time to do important things like daydream... and draw.

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