The Namibian arts industry may have been established years before independence, but it has certainly not reached its peak. As it continuously breaks boundaries by depicting both traditional and modern society, proudly Namibian artworks are often presented on both large- and small-scale platforms. Take a look at some of the Windhoek’s top galleries.
Opened during Namibia’s independence celebrations, the National Art Gallery of Namibia, or the NAGN, is one of the country’s prime spots for local exhibitors and art installations. Its history is significant – the gallery officially opened in the same year as Namibia’s independence. Since then, it has showcased powerful visual arts and crafts from local and international artists, and hosted several fashion shows from College of the Arts students. Although the artworks showcased are temporary, it makes for a refreshing (and unlimited) visit.
The John Muafangejo Art Centre is a symbolic art gallery which doubles as a museum for the curious. Based in the heart of Katutura, Namibian artistry, particularly in contemporary arts, is celebrated and heavily expressed. The centre is named after John Muafangejo (1943–1987), a talented Namibian artist, and gives both aspiring and well-established artists a platform to exhibit their artworks. Often the public are welcome to take part in critical thinking sessions and discussions. Residencies for artists are also available at the centre.
After indulging in the city’s Craft Market, the Omba Gallery is a must-visit. As you weave your way through two floors of unique, traditional and locally-made art, from woven baskets and furniture, to jewellery made from ostrich eggs, unemployed women from disadvantaged communities benefit from any purchases you make. The Omba Gallery is famed for its Christmas in July exhibitions, which is exactly as it sounds. Dotted in white with stunning décor for celebrations at the end of the year, visitors are welcome to purchase local goodies at affordable prices.
It has not been around for a long time, but the Project Room, located on Windhoek West’s Jenner Street, is an interesting gallery that does not limit itself to paintings. As some artworks lazily hang across the vast wall, others are neatly displayed across the gallery, which resembles the standard Namibian home. Giving an intimate feel to the pieces as the shadows of the trees envelop you, visitors can experience pottery by hand to the intricate jewellery, as well unique accessories that will create an African atmosphere to any home. Don’t forget to peek out the incredible view from the showroom – Windhoek’s mountainous horizon is a sight to see.
The Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre was established to fortify the relationship between Namibia and France. Since its inception 27 years ago, it has introduced a series of events including comedies, plays, international movie screenings and plenty of exhibitions. The modernistic main building welcomes guests to view the artworks displayed in the gallery, while next door lies the Ethiopian-style restaurant called Goûts d’Afrique, formerly known as La Bonne Table. More works exhibit there, so you can dine on some delicious Eastern cuisine and enjoy the art.
As an independent gallery, StArt Art has performed quite well in the arts industry. Exhibiting arts from established Namibian artists such as the late and great Tony Figueira, Lynette Diergaardt and Nicky Marais, this intimate space deserves a visit. Located in the city centre, this gallery is well known for its contemporary art and workshops for those invested in the city’s creative community. Along with its exhibitions, StArt Art hosts pARTicipate sessions which allow visitors to engage with artists who elaborate on their pieces and the methods they use.
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