Freedom in Making a Mark
Namibian artist Petrus Amuthenu is, through his work, contributing to our international acclaim for the exceptional print makers that come out of Namibia. His solo exhibition is testament to the artistic talent in our country. 99FM’s MYD Art sat down with the young artist to talk about his artistic journey, his mentor and his collection which is defined by powerful women.
“Art started for me at a young age. As a child I was always drawing, I even used to draw on the floor.” says Petrus. Like many Namibian children though, Art was not available to him in school and so he had to teach himself. Petrus notes, “A country is lost without its Art. I think Art should be introduced in all schools in Namibia because there are still many schools that don’t offer Art. Art was not in my school, I had to teach myself. I never had classes in school.”
Petrus advises that Art is something for everyone because, “Art is a way to relieve stress, when you are drawing you are not thinking about problems.”
Petrus was born in Swakopmund and grew up in northern Namibia in Uukwaludhi. His exhibition that opens on the 11th of August 2016 at 18h00 in the Main Gallery of the National Art Gallery of Namibia, is his second solo exhibition. The exhibition is titled Freeing My Mind and showcases the journey from sketches through to prints, some of which are eight layers worth of printing and painting that take Petrus up to a week and a half per piece, to finish. Petrus notes that “I enjoy every later and every part.” He adds that while “pencil drawing is my favourite style, I like to explore, I don’t like to be limited. Anything that makes a mark, I can use. I like trying out new things”
Petrus talks of his inspiration, his brother who is a military police officer, “my favourite piece for this exhibition is the one I did of my brother. It’s called Tangeni the Warrior. My brother is the one that raised me and taught me how be a man. He is the one that toughened me up and I did this to thank him for always looking out for me.” Petrus notes that it is important for young people to have someone to look up to “If you don’t have anybody to look up to you may end up lost.”
A key stand out of this exhibition is that many of the images feature strong women which Petrus explains was not intentional but came simply out of the fact that, “To me the being of a woman is something that is beautiful. I see women as beautiful and powerful.”
When asked how he creates balance in his life, Petrus says that he “Listens to music, draws or spends time in nature. I like going to the Goreangab Dam and watching the sunset, this is great for balance. Even when you’re painting there are times when you feel like you’re not getting anything right, this is when it’s best to just leave it and come back to it later.”
In terms of advice for Namibian artists, Petrus says “Never give up. Follow what makes you happy, follow your dreams.” His message to Namibians that will help to empower artists is to support the arts, “People should support art more, there are people who just don’t understand, there are people who say I am doing useless things. These people need to open their eyes and see what Art is all about. Come to the galleries, view the art.”
To support the artist and view the art, be sure to head to the National Art Gallery of Namibia in Windhoek where Petrus’s exhibition Freeing My Mind, opens on the 11th of August 2016 at 18h00 in the Main Gallery and runs until the 3rd of September 2016.