Old School Exhibition – intricate printmaking and boundless original imagery

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Under the Watchful eye. Andrew Van Wyk takes the imagination to unworldly dimensions through monotype paintings and printmaking canvases.

A vivid display of visual imagination exploded this week at the National Art Gallery when two renowned artists opened their latest combined exhibition.
Titled “Old School Spirit”, the exhibition of paintings and sketches by Andrew van Wyk and Ndasuunje Papa Shikongeni opened on Tuesday evening at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in Windhoek. The two seasoned artists utilised various mediums and styles for this collaborative exhibition. It runs until the end of July.
The exhibition presents of a large array of canvases in different mediums as the two artists offer art lovers an eclectic taste of visual imagery. Their selected works range from canvases with complex and colorful scenes to the very evocative works by Van Wyk, each filled with hidden innuendos as he paints multiple subjects onto a single canvas.
The two artists said they have paired up to present an exhibition of works that they hope will inspire and create a much needed dialogue between the new generation of artists that are now entering the art market and the ‘Old School Spirits’ that have been part of the Namibian art industry for some time.
The two are renowned for the work they have done with cardboard printmaking, a technique and medium of which both have become masters. Shikongeni uses the dry point technique on ABS sheets and ink on paper while Van Wyk uses stencils and airbrush as his medium. Van Wyk, in one his monotype canvases shows the boundless imagination of an artist as he utilizes different shades of ink capturing the human iris with a waterfall of tears, desert dunes and the female anatomy into one canvas. Images like this and many others are appreciated by art collectors as his imagination finds unrestrained expression fluctuating between reality and fantasy in fluorescent ink.
At the opening ceremony, Van Wyk casually mentioned that he has been part of the art industry for a long time, recounting his early days as a street artist. On the gallery’s lower level, Shikongeni’s etches adorn the walls with equal originality and fine detail. His works seem to be more subject specific, as he portrays the diverse traditional dances of the Namibian people with formidable lines and some with a deep etching technique.
In an interview “Papa” Shikongeni explained that the inspiration behind his art comes from a profound need to create, adding “I need to set an example to the young one’s to instill creativity within them.
To understand the art of this two very special artists, the viewer has to delve into the different cultural, social and political elements in both olden and modern Namibian society. The exhibition hopes to create a space where links between the various groups within the art community can take place. A space where the younger generation of artists, including those still studying, can engage with the older generation and create a dialogue to exchange ideas an to inspire and teach one another. “We are making work that will inspire the younger artists like creating a light in the darkness” Shikongeni said as he described his own and van Wyk’s work.

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