12 Artists From Namibia You Should Know
Kandjengo Lok, "Namibian Boat Seasons" | Courtesy of Guns & Rain
There is no shortage of outstanding visual artists in Namibia, with many finding inspiration in the culturally rich and hauntingly beautiful country of their birth. From abstract and thought-provoking to bold and riveting, the range of artistic talent in Namibia is phenomenal. Here is Culture Trip’s list of some of the country’s most notable talents.
Inatu Indongo is the first black woman to have her artwork displayed at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. She is known for her unique collages and combination of textures, and her work aims to create a dialogue between art and society through the process of expression. Indongo’s creations are heartfelt and personal.
Born in Windhoek, Van Wyk’s work is strongly influenced by the Damara, Nama, and Baster cultures in Namibia. Although he uses a wide range of techniques, he is considered one of the country’s pioneer cardboard printmakers, and storytelling weaves a strong theme through all his work. Melding the realms of fantasy and reality, Van Wyk addresses a broad range of social and political themes.
Andrew Van Wyk 'Where We Come From' | Courtesy of Guns & Rain
The late Samuel Mbingilo was born in Owakazizi in the Oshikoto region of Namibia and has left a great impression on other cardboard print artists in the country. His work showcases his outstanding ability in cardboard print and makes use of color, black, and white. His artwork stands as a reflection of Africa, in all its wonderful diversity.
Although born in South Africa, Chris Snyman has lived in Namibia since 2005. This multi-talented man is a goldsmith, painter, and sculptor and works across a broad range of media including cement, aluminum, bronze, oil, and pen. His artwork touches on social critique and explores interpersonal relationships. It has been featured in various solo and joint exhibitions in Namibia.
Chris Snyman 'Forbidden Love False Idols' | Courtesy of Chris Snyman
Bringing to the fore society’s fundamental beliefs about gender, body politics, identity, and sexuality, Jo Rogge’s abstract and edgy artwork feature conflicts surrounding the body as a central element. She uses much of her own personal life experiences to add a highly emotive charge to her work and depicts the human body in abstract, fragmented terms.
Jo Rogge 'Poking Back' | Courtesy of Guns & Rain
This talented multimedia artist’s work centers around questions relating to power, representation, ethics, and technological mediation. She has enjoyed solo exhibits at the National Art Gallery of Namibia and presented her work at notable institutions around the world.
he Shape of Memory Wlotzkasbaken Namibia | Courtesy of Nicola Brandt and Guns & Rain
Kandjengo Lok grew up in the small village of Elyambala in the far north of Namibia. While studying he specialized in the oil-based cardboard printing technique that Namibia is known for. A collection of his work can be viewed at the National Art Gallery of Namibia, among other locations. Most of Lok’s work features bold, stylized prints depicting rural Namibian life.
Kandjengo Lok 'My Dream Car' | Courtesy of Guns & Rain
Amuthenu was born in Swakopmund and began his artistic career by sketching and drawing. He later trained in cardboard print, giving his work a distinct style. Although he does not consider himself exclusively a printmaker, his careful layering of content and process visually recalls his mastery of the craft. Other mediums used in his creations include pencil, charcoal, spray-paint, tipex, oil paint, and printing ink.
A great Namibian artist who is no longer of this world is John Muafangejo, internationally renowned as a maker of woodcut prints. He was born in the far northern reaches of Ovamboland and today is considered the most important visual artist of his country. His linocuts are powerful depictions of people and events, expressed in black and white imagery. Although he did not live to see Namibia’s independence, the struggle for its freedom forms an important background of much of his art.
Marais is the founder of Visual Arts Namibia and her works depict the socio-economic history of Namibia through abstract forms and colors. Her art has been exhibited in Namibia, South Africa, and internationally, and much of her inspiration comes from the ancient rock paintings and petroglyphs of the Namib desert. Marais makes wide use of symbolic imagery and transforms patterns that are naturally inherent in urban and rural landscapes into original compositions.
Nicky Marais 'Small Energies II' | Courtesy of Guns & Rain
This relative newcomer to the contemporary art scene in Namibia makes use of mixed media to create works of art that are inspired by the environment and he often utilizes recycled materials in his pieces. He was born in northern Namibia and participated in many group exhibitions. He says his art reflects a unique Namibian identity, as well as his own identity as a young artist struggling to survive in the world.
Ndasuunje “Papa” Shikongeni
This Windhoek-born artist is one of the first prominent papier-mâché sculptors in Namibia and is credited with a now-renowned type of printmaking that exudes youthful energy. He is also a talented musician who believes there is no boundary between music and visual art. His pieces are grounded in ritual order and spirituality and he uses layering as a form of cultural expression.
Namibia National Art Gallery, Robert Mugabe Ave, Windhoek, +264 61 231 160