Art Inside exhibition – Mesmeric reflections of a nation
With art works made from a diverse range of natural and man-made materials, the National Art Gallery of Namibia is hosting an exhibition that is just as complex as Namibia’s indigenous inhabitants. Titled Art Inside, this exhibition is part of a government project which started in 2013 to introduce more local art into government structures. The exhibition by various artists started on Good Friday and runs until 23 April 2016.
The Art Inside exhibition aims to acquire original Namibian visual art for installation in all government offices, including foreign missions. By displaying the artworks at government premises the project celebrates visual art as an important mode of creative communication and fosters an appreciation for visual art as an inherent part of the government’s working environment.
The Art Inside exhibition provides artists with the opportunity to create works out of their visual realms through paintings, prints, sculptures, mixed media compositions, large-scale murals and site-specific installations. This is manifested by the exhibition as the gallery is adorned with artwork varying from photography and cardboard prints to acrylic and oil based canvases as well as some interesting mixed media paintings that give 3D films a good run for their money.
Although most of the artworks are striking in their own capacity, the audience at the opening was especially enamoured by artists such John Kalunda who could only be described as a true protégé of mixed media art. In one of his canvases, Kalunda mixes paint, sand, and zinc creating a scene so vivid it seems as though one is standing at an intersection in one of Katutura’s poverty stricken gravel road neighbourhoods with the formidable presence of cuca shops, the odd shebeen and people lingering about.
Since its inception in 2013, Art Inside has acquired and installed more than 212 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures in ministries. This year the project ran differently from previous years as artists were given the option to submit proposals instead of already produced work. Thus the various government offices as clients considered the proposals in consultation with the artists before production of the final artworks.
Through this prior interaction between client and artist, the project serves as platform to establish a long lasting relationship between local artists and government ministries, agencies and embassies.