Artists: Potential Agents for Change

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By Surihe Gaomas

WINDHOEK

Government must look into the potential of Namibian artists as agents for change in socio-economic development. This is the sentiment with which well-known artist and Head of the Ndasuunje Shikongeni marked the opening of the Wood and Sculpture Workshop today at the John Muafangejo Art Centre (JMAC) in Katutura, together with the College of the Arts.

For the past three weeks, 15 students from these two art institutions have been creating combination art pieces from wood and natural stone with guidance from a Zimbabwean course instructor, Shephard Ndudzo.

As Director of JMAC, Shikongeni said the exhibited artworks on display during the next two weeks from the students will show there is great potential in aspiring young artists who can make a difference in society.

“It was a very good opportunity for young, upcoming artists who had never had any creative skills in making wood and stone sculptures in their lives before. So the exhibition is definitely a showcase of their skills development in a new trend of art,” said Shikongeni.

He added that as artists are developing their skills in new creative designs, government must look into this change and see how it can be incorporated into the school curriculum.

“Namibian artists have the potential to curb crime and unemployment among young people through art. We need to look at setting up art studios and become involved in industrial construction through art. The National Museum of Namibia should also welcome us into their fold by showcasing up-to-date contemporary art sculptures in the museum,” said Shikongeni.

During a recent interview with New Era, lifelong Zimbabwean artist and course instructor, Shephard Ndudzo, said that by looking at the progress the students have made over the weeks, shows there is great potential for these young people to excel in art.

“The whole experience was like unearthing their potential. I wanted to give them an alternative form of art from a different perspective. Some have never touched wood and stone before, but just look at what they have achieved in a few months,” said Ndudzo.

Wood and stone sculptures may be new to young local artists, but it is commonly used in other African countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The 29-year-old Ndudzo, who is based in Botswana, conducted the course at the invitation of Shikongeni, who had previously seen his artworks.

Having been a sculptor all his life, Ndudzo also exhibits his work in a private gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa and has held group exhibitions abroad in countries like Germany, Finland, China and Taiwan.

This was his first visit to Namibia.

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