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Roosters run the world

Rooster in the world, one of Lok Kandjengo’s painting on display at the FNCC

Rooster in the world, one of Lok Kandjengo’s painting on display at the FNCC

Upon entering the gallery I was taken back to my village, – dusty roads, mud brick houses, children playing in the field and the smell of roasted mealies. The paintings in the room depicted village life as we know it, a red cockerel strutting around proudly pecking at the ground for small pieces of  food.
In Ekondombolo (meaning rooster in Oshiwambo) which is currently on display at the Franco Namibia Cultural Centre, (FNCC) Lok Kandjengo is a story teller in his first ever solo exhibition. Beautiful arrays of a strong application of ox blood reds, warm oranges and earthy browns, tell stories of how the rooster takes glory in the sun rising, perched with its head and chest up high in ‘I wake up people’.
Kandjengo sees the rooster as much more than an ordinary bird. In ‘Rooster in the World’ its body forms a map of the world’s continents, a piece which is wonderfully segmented and is a favourite to me. Not only are his pieces attractive they are also articulate and incorporate the rooster as more than just a bird, a warrior, a unifier, a sexy and desirable bird and as an important part of every day village life.
“I am of the generation of Namibian cardboard printmakers”, says Lok Kandjengo, citing John Muafangejo, Joseph Madisia and Papa Shikongeni as the masters of cardboard print and as a big inspiration for himself. Kandjengo presents a portfolio of prints that deal with life in Katutura, street kids – and with the male chicken. The rooster signifies power and strength for Kandjengo “In my culture a man needs to have a rooster in his house,” he said hence the title of his exhibition.
Kandjengo participated in many group exhibitions in Windhoek and Swakopmund, most notably in the recent “Ghetto Soldiers” at the National Art Gallery.

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