Last Saturday the “Katutura is…” art project was unveiled with two murals that were recently painted at the Bernard Nordkamp Centre (BNC, a non-profit after school educational project. Mitchell Gatsi and Johan Johnston were the two artists entrusted with the responsibility, alongside the learners from the BNC, who shared their artistic vision in a collaborative workshop process also facilitated by the artists.
Murals and public art play a pivotal role in the social and artistic expression of any city and Windhoek is no exception. The 1990 Independence mural along Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue has stood as a testament to this, yet murals and public art remain very limited throughout the city, especially in Katutura, which is home to the largest of Windhoek’s population. The power of specifically murals in communities, such as Katutura, creates public access to art, Murals are both physically and conceptually accessible to the people whose lives it impacts and we believe that they can have a particularly good impact on the children and young people. It will also bring art into their daily lives through a process which enables them to reflect their individual social concerns, aspirations and dreams.
“Katutura is…” is a joint arts project and a first of its kind developed around the theme of Katutura, its roots and relevance, interpreted by artists from different disciplines in dialogue with the community of Katutura, Namibia’s biggest township. It is designed to uplift and enhance the profile of Katutura through the arts and highlight it as a place with rich cultural diversity and history, a centre for commerce and growth and a symbol for the spirit of togetherness and social change, as a model for a new Namibia after 25 years of independence. The mural component is a kick-start to the larger “Katutura is…” project that will continue in its full capacity in 2016.