Namibians Need Art Exposure

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A SADC Regional Art Association and a special representative for visual art in the National Assembly, are two of the recommendations suggested to the National Art Gallery of Namibia. These recommendations are part of a report by a well-known Namibian female artist Helena Brandt, who represented Namibia at the recently held 16th General Assembly of the International Artists Association in Beijing, China. She gave feedback to local artists on Monday evening, where only a handful turned up. In her report she stated that the Beijing event attracted 600 professional artists from 50 nations around the world, at the biggest event of this nature ever held in China. “The need for more and better interaction between artists and region to region was very much highlighted during the 10-day general assembly meetings. Most of the regions operate very much in isolation,” Brandt told the gathering of local artists. In her findings on art activities in countries around the world, she has learned in Beijing that: in Estonia they get a social security; in Lithuania artists have a pension and medical aid scheme and art works are not taxed and in Greece artists organisations are advisors to their government. “Due to Namibia’s isolated geographical position, our artists and citizens need to be exposed more to international art; a studio should be established in Namibia for international artists in residence; we should publish a year book and news letters on a national and international level; visual artists should also be allowed to produce visual art programmes for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation and the art syllabi in primary and secondary schools as well as at tertiary level should be revised,” Brandt recommended. In conclusion, she quoted a thought from China: “Today our political leaders are not usually poets or artists. In the Song Period of Chinese history, government officials were also judged on their accomplishments in literature and art.”