By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The owner and Chief Curator of KÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª-rah-dah Gallery of Contemporary Art, will be leaving for Finland next Saturday on an exchange programme in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland, it was announced in a press release. “The purpose of the trip will be to establish contact with relevant organizations and institutions interested in forging alliances in Namibia for the purposes of providing a framework for artists from both countries to travel and work on a reciprocal basis, to exhibit their works, to engage in workshop activities, and to participate in academic programmes where possible. Residencies and internships will also be investigated,” said John Sampson. According to him this initiative will be inclusive and provide opportunities for established, mature artists, as well as the young generation of emerging Namibian artists. The visit is also aimed at promoting and marketing Namibian art in Finland. The Finish exchange programme will be launched with exhibitions in three locations, namely, Nuoriso- ja kulttuurikeskus Nuku, in Oulu, Oulunsuu Library, in Oulu and the University of Lapland, in Rovaniemi, Lapland. The programme also includes the presentation of workshops and lecturing in organic painting at the University of Art & Design, Helsinki, the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Lapland, exchanges at Pori School for Media Art, Pori and interacting with academics and students of all three institutions on a number of issues. The trip to Finland is expected to help expand the cultural tourism sector of the Namibian market with the promotion of a farm in the south, which John and his colleague and partner hope will attract Finnish artists. “This rural setting is ideal for a working programme, and offers all the facilities needed for the production of exhibition-quality artwork. The location is a working Namibian farm, which offers the opportunity to explore the local landscape, the geology of the area, and to experience different aspects of life in Namibia,” Sampson said. The cultural tourism sector of the project will expand to include similar locations on the fringes of the Namib Desert and the Namibian coast in order to provide for a fair sampling of cultural diversity. ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â All artworks produced by visiting artists on the programme will be exhibited at John’s new facility viz. KÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª-rah-dah Gallery of Contemporary Art. “The central focus of the project is to facilitate visits by artists from both countries to market Namibian art abroad, to expose Namibian artists to a wider cultural world, and to ensure that local artists strive to remain at the cutting edge of artistic exploration,” the artist said. Sampson promised to make all of the information relevant to the programme and the services offered by KÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª-rah-dah Gallery of Contemporary Art available on a website, which will be launched after his return on 25 November 2006. Artists wishing to participate and to be accommodated in the various aspects of the project, may call at the gallery at No.11 Sauerbruchstrasse, Windhoek West.
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