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Arts can unite the nation

Mr Peter Koep, Chairperson of the Arts Association Heritage Trust at a meeting to revive the National Arts Association with the help and suggestions of artist and art lovers. (Photograph by Mandisa Rasmeni)

A pilot meeting earlier this week at the National Art Gallery looked at a strategy to revive the former Namibian Arts Association.

The aim of the meeting was to bring artists, stakeholders and art lovers together to come up with suggestions and ideas for a revised NAA constitution and to keep record of those interested to become members. Mr Peter Koep, Chairperson of the Arts Association Heritage Trust (AAHT), welcomed all and opened the floor for discussions. One of the main issues pointed out by artists is that there is too much red tape. Some artists said they just want to do their art and express themselves. Prof Andre du Pisani said arts is undervalued and that arts and culture can be used to build up the nation. “Artists have lost their voice, and they need to be humble and learn the hard way, because arts is the best project to reconcile this nation, no matter what others may think,” he emphasised.
It was also noted that support, training, promotion, fairness of trade and regulations are missing in the arts craft. Well-known artists are given first preference and the young and upcoming artists are left in the dark. The question of what is art was also raised and whether every individual discipline should have its own association? Everyone was in agreement that there should be an umbrella body that caters for all the different art disciplines and that artists should help each other in promoting their own trade.
The idea of a shared website was also raised where all artist can promote themselves, connect with each other and with art lovers all over the world and not just in the country.
The artists at the meeting expressed their appreciation of the introduction of the new Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, saying that because of this children can learn and study art from an early age and perfect their craft from the grassroots level.
From 13 to 17 April, the new Arts Policy will be discussed by invited dignitaries and stakeholders of the industry, at the Country Club Resort and Casino, to make the policy coherent, current and inclusive of everyone.

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