By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “Today we live in a world characterized by a diversity of cultures and art has become significantly inestimable.” This was said by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Namibia, professor Lazarus Hangula, on Monday when he opened the refurbished art gallery at the Visual Arts Department. “It is said that arts and culture are the distinctive characteristics of the human race not only in terms of creativity, but also in terms of entertainment and or leisure. However, due to the fact that at this stage arts do not appear to fall within the realm of priorities in our country, financial support is rare for Unam arts students. Hence the need for the private sector to assist,” he said. In his view arts enables students to develop attitudes, characteristics and intellectual capabilities required to participate effectively in today’s economy. “The arts teach self-discipline, reinforce self-esteem and foster thinking skills and creativity so valued in the workplace. The success of our educational system is depending upon students learning to be both literate and imaginative, both competitive and creative,” the professor said of the gallery that was refurbished with financial support from Standard Bank Namibia. The Vice Chancellor also welcomed the re-launch of the Tulipamwe International Workshop. “The primary goal of Tulipamwe remains that of sharing ideas and skills. The project aims to help elevate and empower neglected Namibian communities, especially in rural areas by sending skilled artists to conduct development projects in needy communities. Artists participating in it will have the opportunity to apply their capacity by receiving technical and business skills in a joint project with professional artists,” Hangula said. In the opinion of the director of communications and marketing of Unam, Edwin Tjiramba, art is a type of work with qualities beyond creativity, self-expression and communication. “Through art Unam’s students learn the meaning of joy of work, done to the best of one’s abilities. Work is one of the noblest expressions of the human spirit and art therefore is the visible evidence of work carried to the highest possible level. Art is a language of visual images that everyone must learn to read,” Tjiramba said. He further stated that students in art classes create and study visual images affecting their needs, daily human behaviour and ultimate ideals. “One cannot touch art without touching values about home, family, work, play, the individual and society, nature and the environment, war and peace, beauty and ugliness and violence and love. The great art of the past and present deal with these durable human concerns. As art teachers we do not indoctrinate, but when we study the art of many lands and peoples, we expose our students to the expression of a wide range of human values and concerns,” Tjiramba said. The deputy Prime Minister, dr Libertina Amathila also spoke out strongly of the lack of government funding to the arts at the same occasion.
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