Flying crosses, church buildings and a hooded monk carrying a bible are just some of the fascinating works of celebrated Namibian artist Pieter Basson, who is currently exhibiting at the Franco Namibian Culture Centre (FNCC).
A total of 26 framed pieces from the artist’s ‘Divine Intervention’, collection has just one more week to go at the Gallery, and according to the artist, so far he has had a “fantastic response” since opening the exhibition early this month. This is his seventh solo exhibition. His connection to the spiritual world and relationship with the holy Trinity runs like a thread through his latest works, which hold all the quirky characteristics of this artist’s imagination. His bold and daring interpretation of the “divine” has also been served up in eccentric undertones, which is one of Pieter’s favourable qualities.
Inspired by the light, ‘Divine Intervention’, is a versatile and abstract combination of the type of art Pieter can masterfully lay down on paper, using acrylic, watercolour or oil paintings, as well as the range of Lino Cuts or pen and ink works to express himself. In fact true to Basson fashion, he gives the art enthusiast something of everything, offering a variety of shapes and images in an explosion of mediums, colours and techniques leaving a person quite spoilt for choice.
But, a ‘Pieter Basson’ exhibition wouldn’t be the same without featuring his signature paintings of his much loved quirky characters, with egg shaped heads, pronged hands, big clown shoes and jackets with huge buttons.
Whether painted in striking colours with off-beat backgrounds, or a simple black and white Lino Cut, they all express moods and situations created by the artist, which are uniquely appealing.
“These figures are my own creation inspired from age old influences – but entirely modernised with all my characters delivering some message and doing different things,” explains Pieter.
Talking about his Lino Cuts, Pieter says that each piece has been painstakingly perfected by hand, and because of this time consuming process he doesn’t mass produce. He also carefully makes limited Lino Cut prints, to retain the quality and authenticity. “I like to experiment with different mediums, even though I have my preferences, I feel the need to explore because as an artist you never stop growing,” adds Pieter, who describes his art as contemporary.
He mixes influences from some of the greats such as Picasso, Salvador Dali, the Oskar Kokoschka as well as the works of Namibia’s legendary John Muafangejo. Pieter has exhibited in over 50 group exhibitions, including exhibiting his Lino Cuts in Chamliérs, France. “The French are very particular, and they must be in the mood for you to be invited, so it was a real honour to have exhibited in France for three years running,” he adds.
That said, his art is hanging in homes and galleries around the world, and is part of the permanent collection of the Arts Association of Namibia. His portrait of Sam Nujoma, is also said to have a special place in the founding fathers personal collection. Pieters says he’s been painting all his life, and recalls doing his first sketch in his mother’s bible – and developed a penchant for drawing on the walls. “Even looking back at my earlier works there was this element of divinity,” he concludes, referring to his Divine Intervention exhibition, saying this time around he literally gave the Trinity the chance to express through him.