Revealing canvases from a travelling photographer-A solo exhibition by Kyle Weeks
The National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) earlier this week set the scene for photography enthusiasts as it opened the doors to a solo exhibition by award winning photographer, Kyle Weeks.
His exhibition runs until 27 July 2016.
The solo exhibition by Weeks brings together two series of fine art photography sessions of “Ovahimba self portraits”. For these images Weeks focused on unmarried Himba men, engaging them as both subject and photographer as they pressed the shutter release at any moment they pleased. “As I became aware of the rift between the representation and realities of these people, I wanted to produce images that aimed to contest the view of this culture as unchanging and one-dimensional” Weeks enthused.
These self portraits are awe-inspiring. Gazing at the men in the pictures, one perceives a sense of sincerity in every picture. With distinct facial expressions and stances, the young Ovahimba men capture themselves in their truest sense with little influence by the photographer. In a sense, they represent themselves in both traditional and contemporary identities. The exhibition is not only endearing for its photography but also for its deeply-rooted academic elements, although Weeks humbly denied claims of doing sociological studies.
The exhibition focuses on portraiture photography for ethnographic framing and anthropological purposes. Weeks not only acts as the photographer taking pictures of an exotic tribe in northern Namibia, he also submerged himself within the tribe, taking away the feeling of being on stage for his subjects. In this way, Weeks documents through his lens the mannerisms of the Ovahimba and breaks away from the one-dimensional conventional view./“I hope that viewers recognize the difference between my work and both the typical ethnographic photography as well as the superficial imagery generated by tourism. They would hopefully read into this difference something that I am trying to attribute to these men around the ideas of agency, mobility and self-fashioning.” Weeks said.
The second part of the exhibition covers the relationship between the Ovahimba and the Makalani palm tree of which there are many closer to the Kunene river. Weeks does an impeccable job at converting these images to large scale canvases with great lighting and finely accentuated tinting, depicting the strong ties of kinship and tradition that still linger in the midst of these men.