Art Marketing: More than a stroke of paint

Windhoek – African artists have to invest as much effort in promoting and marketing as in putting together art pieces before an exhibition if they are to make an impression in the industry and grow.
Namibia’s Kaleb Haipinge and Congolese Tity Tshilumba realised this at the poorly attended opening of a joint exhibition titled “Part of Our Society” at the National Art Gallery on July 10.
The duo organised the exhibition “to create a good platform within Africa and to share dreams”, as well as boost the confidence of Tshilumba, who has been struggling to gain recognition.
According to Haipinge, part-time artist and organiser of the exhibition, “The attendance was very poor from the corporate world and business people, who are our initial target in terms of selling the paintings, however, various artists came through to support our initiative”.
By the first week, the duo had not sold anything and was hopeful by the end of the exhibition on August 2 people, including tourists, would have supported the project.
Haipinge believes lack of proper advertisement could have contributed to the poor attendance. “It was a poor advertisement, especially from the gallery’s side as they only advertised two days before the main event and sent out invitation cards on the day of the opening of the exhibition,” he said.
He further added that is not the way to do things, as one needs adequate time to ready oneself.
“What I would do differently next time is to plan ahead of time and put in more effort to promote our exhibition. The exhibition was planned in a very short period of time and everything was rushed, which also contributed to the poor turnover.
“All in all I am not too disappointed and don’t feel too bad as such mistakes teach us and make us grow.  Also we got the message we wanted to send via our exhibition across and that’s what mostly matters.  Thus I will not call it a failure as such because we still have two weeks to see how it will go,” he ended.
Meanwhile, Haipinge, who has had five solo exhibitions and about 45 group exhibitions, has planned his sixth solo exhibition for 2015 and will participate in group exhibitions coming out this year as well as next year.
He has won a Rector’s Trophy in college. He has also won the Ae Gams Festival painting competition four consecutive times. Four times, he was a finalist in the Biannale competition ‑ now Triannale ‑ a leading artists competition in Namibia.

July 2013
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