A tour of the city as seen through the eyes of artists
Ultimate Safaris looks to redefine existing experiences, doing away with stereotyped opinions and beliefs, by offering unique and rewarding experiences that are not available elsewhere. We pride ourselves on being cutting-edge when it comes to developing and pioneering safari programmes in Namibia and our guests get to meet some extraordinary people who then take care of them during their time with us. We believe these encounters are genuinely life enriching for all concerned.
Most journeys to Namibia begin and end with a night in the capital and, contrary to popular belief, Windhoek holds a wide variety of treasures when it comes to experiences. This half and full day art tour is the first of a number of fascinating activities that we will be introducing to dispel the inaccurate notion that ‘there is nothing to do in Windhoek’.
Namibian Independence in 1990 brought about an expanded and exciting visual arts scene, and the introduction of various local and international workshops offering training opportunities that most Namibian artists never had access to before helped to accelerate this. A generation of young talent has emerged as a result and they are imaginative and daring, working with important social and cultural issues as subject matter. It is therefore widely believed that Namibian art has entered a golden era!
This tour focusses on topics such as contemporary Namibian art history and visual art trends, local socio-political-economic factors, and the role visual arts plays in Namibian society. This is very much in line with our commitment to enrich as many lives as possible during the journeys we offer, and our aim is to bring guests into direct contact with artists, be it in the most basic studios and homes in the townships of Windhoek or the more sophisticated local galleries. This allows them to portray real life Namibia, from the challenges and adversity that many Namibians face to the determination to succeed and the end results of these efforts. Guests will encounter artists of different disciplines and styles, each employing materials in highly distinctive and creative ways, and they will be afforded first-hand opportunities to experience artists’ studio activities. We have found these artists eager to talk about their inspirations, subjects and themes, and some are also happy to demonstrate the techniques they use (normally by prior arrangement).
The tour will be guided by Prof Hercules Viljoen, a former Director of the National Art Gallery of Namibia and visual arts academic and art activist, or by one of his close associates / mentees. His own award winning art is represented in various national and international collections and he has been commissioned to create a number of National monuments in Namibia. However, and perhaps most importantly, Viljoen enjoys direct contact and working relationships with most Namibian artists, as well as art education institutions and art organisations and these are the key ingredient to providing life enriching encounters during these tours. Most of the artists that are happy to receive visits on this tour live and work in the old ‘township’ of Katutura. A few of the participating artists are listed below:
- Paul Kiddo, a senior painter, depicting life in urban and rural landscapes.
- Jero Amuthenu and Lok Kandengo, master printmakers who share studio space with other emerging artists.
- Alpheus Mvula, an accomplished stone sculptor and printmaker.
- Barbara Böhlke, an award winning painter using indigenous natural materials.
- Fillipus Sheehama, mixed media artist who works with recycled materials.
- Ismael Shivute, a talented metal sculptor and mixed media painter who works with recycled materials.
- Titi Tshilumba, a prolific painter of rural scenes.
- Nicky Marais, a prolific abstract painter focussing on important social aspects.
- Frans Nambinga, a painter who runs his own art centre, where he trains community members and school children in art techniques.
This tour will not only highlight a different aspect of life in Namibia, but it will also showcase quality Namibian art and artists, giving them much needed exposure to international visitors. It offers the ideal way to explore and experience Windhoek for both art enthusiasts and others who have a genuine interest in experiencing life in Windhoek in a way that goes far beyond the superficial.
Tour participants will have the opportunity to purchase original and indigenous Namibian art works directly from the artists, and this is an investment that could well pay dividends when these items become more sought after in time. Namibian artists do not have access to many galleries where they can show their work so they depend heavily on being able to sell directly to the public and part of our objective is to facilitate that. Ultimate Safaris is therefore happy to help facilitate any art purchases and the shipping of what is acquired as part of our philanthropic effort to support local Namibian art. Helping to expose artists and their work directly to guests provides an opportunity to improve the visibility and marketability of talented Namibian artists, most of who are currently largely under-exposed, and this will have a large impact on both their continuing enthusiasm for their art as well as on their quality of life.
Please contact your Journeysmith for bookings, or alternatively Helvi at helvi at ultimatesafaris.na.