Art in Horn of Africa on Par with Developments

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK He is highly impressed with arts and culture development in Ethiopia, but specifically with the activities at the Addis Ababa Fine Arts School, which is attached to the University of Ethiopia. This is the view of the director of the National Arts Gallery, Joseph Madisia, who has just returned from the first Pan-African Cultural Congress in Ethiopia. His visit was made possible by the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs Bience Gawanas. “The congress brought together art and cultural operators, administrators, experts, eminent personalities, professionals, representatives of governments, NGO’s and cultural organisers as well as observers from around the continent. I am happy to say that I also served as a panelist on the “Cultural Policies in Africa” discussion during which time the Namibian Art and Culture Policy was presented and discussed. It is worth to note that the Namibian policy compared very well with most other African country’s cultural policies in Africa,” Madisia told Art/Life. It was also the first time that Madisia was able to view his artwork titled, “Tree of Unity” that was donated by the former Namibian President Dr Sam Nujoma to the newly built African Union Building in 2004 with works from many other African country’s artists such as Nigeria and Ivory Coast also represented in the building. “Apart from the congress I was also able to meet some Ethiopian artists who exhibited their artworks for the duration at the congress. This also enabled me to visit an art centre, the Addis Ababa Fine Art School, similar to the John Muafangejo Art Centre in Namibia. Many talented students enrol annually at the art school and the school specialize in printmaking, painting and sculpture,” Madisia said. Madisia is working on a plan to make an art exchange programme possible between Ethiopia and Namibia.