NAGN hosts fourth Bank Windhoek Triennial art exhibition

Anastasia Paulus

WINDHOEK –  The 2017 Bank Windhoek Triennial exhibition opened on September 1 at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) where 70 artworks by 60 Namibian visual artists are on display and will run until September 28, 2017.   

The nationwide arts exhibition and competition is organised by the NAGN and is held every three years in September with financial assistance from Bank Windhoek.

The exhibition was first held in 2008, followed by two more in 2011 and 2014.

Large-scale art exhibitions such as the Bank Windhoek Triennial happen all over the world in many different countries.

The Bank Windhoek Triennial art exhibition is a celebration of visual arts in Namibia and an opportunity to engage in dialogue around cultural diversity in the Namibian society.

The selected artworks in the exhibition that occupies both the lower and upper floors of the national gallery were selected from over 350 entries.

All artists with Namibian citizenship, are domicile or have permanent residence status are eligible to take part in the exhibition.

An adjudication panel of five judges that include two international experts made a selection of artworks for the exhibition as well as winners of this year’s competition.

On the display are a variety of paintings, sculptures, photographs, crafts and installations.

They depict issues of concern in the Namibian society such as culture and heritage, poaching, environmental and the effects of colonialism.

For instance, Isabel Katjavivi, whose creation title ‘The Past is Not Buried’ that won the first prize, is expressing her emotions about the atrocities committed by Germans especially in Ovaherero people at the beginning of the 20th century.

On the upper floor of the National Art Gallery of Namibia, Katjavivi made an installation that represents a grave, with decomposed composed partially exposed.

She indicate that the infamous extermination order by the German commander, General Luthar von Trotha in 1904, has a lasting negative impact on the Ovaherero and Nama and will never be wished away.

After the Battle of Waterberg of 11 August 1904 between the German imperial soldiers and the Herero fighters, Von Trotha ordered that “any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot”.

This led to the indiscriminate killing that, according to records, wiped out about 80 and 50 percent of the Ovaherero and Nama people for challenging German imperialism. Today, these communities are leading a campaign to be compensated by the current Germany government for the atrocities committed against their descendants.

In her charcoal paintings titled “The plight of the rhino” also on the upper floor of the gallery, Urte Remmert expressed her concern about the problem of rhino poaching in Namibia.

Remmert depicts that rhinos, one of Africa big fives and a draw card for foreign tourists to Namibia, are in danger of extinction as they are being hunted out by poachers for their horns, said to be on high demand in Asian countries like China.

Commenting on the triennial exhibition, Bank Windhoek managing director Baronice Hans said: “Bank Windhoek prides itself on being a connector of positive change through initiatives such as the Bank Windhoek Triennial. We encourage Namibians from all walks of life to connect to art.”

September 2017
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