Tribute to Father of Namibian Visual art

0
13

By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A fine art piece by the late John Muafangejo titled “Muafangejo’s Kraal”, was last week handed as a gift to South African Judge Mervyn King by the Development Bank of Namibia. Judge King, world renowned as the architect of South African corporate governance, was in the capital to share his experiences with Namibians. Prime Minister Nahas Angula also attended the event at the Namibia National Arts Gallery. “This is one of the most important artworks in the history of Namibian art. It is in fact a nostalgic piece that depicts the comforting security of a family kraal with its structure society and special areas for women, children, corn storage, cattle, goats and space where visitors can get together to quench their thirst,” said artist and director of the Arts Gallery, Joseph Madisia in analysing the art work. According to Madisia, the late artist Muafangejo is regarded both here at home and abroad as the Father of Namibian Contemporary Art. “He has left a lasting legacy that has an enormous impact on the development of visual art world wide to break free as the first indigenous Namibian artist to receive international recognition already in 1970. This was at a time when this country was still under occupation of “apartheid” oppression. It was a situation in which it was needed for an artist to have mentally strengthened the sense of identity, dignity and human worthiness in our society.” The groundbreaking stride of the late Muafangejo to overcome his socio-political, cultural and economic barriers, in order to achieve his dreams, inspired many Namibians and artists to pursue the dreams today. “The work reflects an orderly life in a traditional setting according to the late artist’s customs. Everyone knew their place and their responsibilities for which they had to be accountable for. It is this same orderliness that we as Namibians strive for today. This artwork becomes very symbolic today, because it reminds us that we have regained our comfort and security that was disturbed at a point in history by the war during the seventies when the liberation war of Namibia gained momentum,” the director told those present. He was also of the opinion that the artwork is a visionary gesture of the artist in the seventies that we will return to the same peace and tranquillity that the Namibian people enjoyed more than thirty years ago. “It further emphasises the pride of identity and dignity that we have today. This work of art says all about Namibia and its people, especially about our values, customs, principles, believes and spiritual convictions as a nation and the determination to regain what is rightfully Namibian,” he said and also handed the judge a book on the life of the late artist.