An Artist Driven by Trauma

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Personal trauma drives her to do what she does best – painting, a therapeutic form of artistic expression, which has now culminated in her first public solo arts exhibition in September this year. This is the high point in the life of artist Rixi Apel, a woman who in her lifetime has overcome many personal tragedies such as the death of her youngest son and breast cancer. “I creatively express my artistic feelings by way of oil paintings and drawings, something that came naturally after I one day picked up a pencil and drew a portrait of my first husband and it worked. In essence I am a self-taught visual artist with no formal training. As a housewife I now have all the time in the world to prepare for my first solo exhibition at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre in September,” and excited Apel said in her spacious home in Pionierspark. The artist specializing in character paintings, drawings and landscapes says she has a special attraction to trees and gets inspiration from them. “To me trees are the symbol of life and it represents my own mental state about specific life happenings. I see trees as my friends in everything creative since the premature death of my youngest son in 2003. I draw and paint everything in his memory, Lynton-Jean Rabie,” she said. Naturally the death of her son had a profound effect on her creativity as a painter as well as an accomplished singer. “For 18 months I could not get myself so far to pick up a brush to practice, what I consider to be my natural talent, painting and singing. I had to overcome the loss of my son. This loss is heavily reflected in my latest works especially drawings and paintings of sunsets. Whenever I think about the traumas I have experienced I paint like a workaholic to complete whatever creative activity I am involved with,” she said. Apel draws anything that captures her fragile imagination in the spaciousness of her huge house, with her husband all day at work. “Being a housewife has some advantages too, doesn’t it? I have all the time in the world to do just that,” said the artist who has just completed three more creative works on canvas in preparation for her solo exhibition. It is obvious that the works of this female Namibian visual artist will be an added asset to the local arts collection. Her exhibition kicks off on September 25 and lasts until October 20.