Last week permanent secretaries (PSs) of several ministries had a chance to discover and purchase artworks that were created specifically for their ministries by numerous Namibian artists. Art Inside is a nationwide art awareness project organised by the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN), with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture aimed at acquiring original Namibian visual arts works for installation in all government offices, including foreign missions. By installing the artworks at GRN premises, the project aims to celebrate visual arts as an important mode of creative communication, and to foster an appreciation for visual arts as an inherent part of the government’s working environment. Since the inception of the project in 2013, the NAGN has acquired and installed more than 212 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures in ministries.
Kabelo Modise’s artwork of proposed hyper realistic paintings for the Ministry of Mines and Energy is to create safety awareness among the staff and other mining and mineral lovers within the ministry. His plan is also to enlighten on what mining is all about without one visiting the mining site. The large and small oil paintings hope to attract the physical and emotional attention of the viewers.
This year the project is running differently from previous years. Artists were given the option to also submit proposals to the NAGN, instead of them submitting pre-produced work only. This change allows the various government offices as client to consider the proposals in consultation with the artist before the production of the final artworks. Consultations between artists and government officials are vital to develop a common vision that could add an aesthetic component to relevant offices and other indoor and outdoor spaces. This exhibition, therefore, gives the artists the opportunity to create works out of their usual realm by introducing a client that may commission artworks such as paintings, prints, sculptures, large scale murals or site-specific installations.
Artists may thus have the opportunity to create works that are not limited to the walls of the traditional gallery space, which allows for a wider audience to view and appreciate the artworks. The project also seeks to foster relationships between the artist and the client, to give artists access to the clientele that they may not always meet in exhibitions and studios spaces. As a result of an initial process of liaison and interaction between government officials and the artists, there has been great feedback so far from the various officials. It is hoped that this process will lead to long lasting relationships and a growing conversation between artists and the government. The exhibition is currently open and will run until 16th April 2016 at the National Gallery of Namibia.