Namibia: Diergaardt Presents 'Namibian Identity Through Textiles'

In the National Art Gallery of Namibia's upper room, there is a glass jar collection of moths, buck bone, crab foot, seed pods and tree bark

Looking carefully at Lynette Diergaardt's 'Namibian Identity Through Textiles', her solo exhibition currently on display, one can also find these items on the walls. In the vivid selection of textiles inspired by various biological organisms available in the textile and fibre artist's environment. Featuring the latest prints in Diergaardt's search for Namibian identity through the elements of art - pattern,repetition, colour and visual texture - the exhibition expounds on her methodology.

The product of a number of workshops calling participants interested in drawing and pattern development to develop prints, the exhibition showcases the result of 10 of the participants' work, which was later appraised by the public in terms of what was most appealing.

The most popular choices of colour and pattern are on display. According to research conducted during Diergaardt's process, orange and yellow are popular choices for interiors and Namibians enjoy red, blue, purple and brown when choosing colours for fashion. An ongoing investigation and opportunity for viewers to give their input into what the Namibian identity expressed in the exhibition communicates to them, the show features designs by Gesie van Staden, Yvonne Kandjavera, Ben Kamati, Ndapewoshali Kautwima, Gretta Gaspar and Marlene de Souza, printed by Diergaardt.

"For the past four years, I have been on a journey of discovery; a discovery of who we are visually as Namibians in order to collect this data in the form of prints, large-scale textile paintings and a range of home products," says Diergaardt, a Fulbright alumna and arts education lecturer at the University of Namibia.A culmination of this journey illustrating both the process and popular choices, 'Namibian Identity Through Textiles' is an interesting and worthy investigation one anticipates will later consider the patterns and symbols that will emerge through the lens of Namibian history and culture. 'Namibian Identity Through Textiles' will be on display until 6 July.

- martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com

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