Appreciation for the Peace of Daily Life in Namibia
A portrayal of life in the place that assisted him to be able to practice as an artist, is Tity Tshilumba’s latest solo exhibition titled The Daily Life which is currently on exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in the Main Gallery.
Tity graduated with a distinction in painting from the Institute des Beaux Arts in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998. Due to political instability he left the country and in 2000 arrived in Namibia. It was in 2007 that Tshilumba participated in his first group exhibition in Namibia, since then he has participated in 21 group exhibitions and this is his second solo exhibition.
99FM’s MYD Art sat down with Tity to talk about his journey from conflict and how important the environment is that you find yourself in, especially for an artist.
Tity’s journey from conflict and instability, to the peace and welcome he has found in Namibia means his art has flourished. He explains “Coming to Namibia influenced me as an artist positively. If you are working in an environment that doesn’t support you, even if you are doing something that you love, it is difficult. In the country that I came from there are so many talented artists but it is so difficult to work there as an artist. Artists need environments where there is peace, then you can work quietly and do things according to the way you need to do it. That was why I had to leave the Congo DR and come to Namibia.”
“After living in Namibia for 16 years, it feels like home” says Tity who adds “I am married to a Namibian woman and we have two children, plus the treatment I have received from fellow artists, makes me feel like this is home. This has meant I have not worried about what I left behind.”
“When I arrived in Namibia, at the beginning it was difficult to adjust and adapt. It was also difficult to come out and do what I love to do, art. In 2010 was when I started to really express myself through art when I was introduced to the National Art Gallery when I participated in a group exhibition about the Independence of Namibia.”
In this, his most recent exhibition, Tity has focused on the daily lives of Namibians drawing from his experiences in both rural and urban areas. “What I portray is what is happening every moment of every day.” Explains Tity. “I am inspired by stories and what I see. I love drawing people because in people there is a direct message. For example one painting is about how people send their children to their grandmothers in the village to raise the children. In this one I am portraying the grandmother who is interested in making sure her granddaughter is getting education to go forward. It makes me feel happy and sometimes it makes me feel unhappy because if that grandmother doesn’t have an understanding of education what will be the future of that child.”
When asked how his family that he left behind in the Congo (DRC) feels about his success as an artist in Namibia, Tity smiles broadly as he shares, “My family is very proud, they follow what I am doing on Facebook. At the opening night of the exhibition, they sent so many messages, saying that I am representing the family and that I did well, that I must continue and that they are still praying for me.”
An artist who has overcome great odds to today adorn the walls of various buildings including that of the Auditor General, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development here in Namibia, Tity’s message to fellow artists and especially up and coming artists is that “we are presenting something to society. This should be the most important thing first and not the idea of earning a living first. If we put earning a living first in our art we will abandon art. Be patient because in my case I struggled, but it was patient which is how I got be to where I am today. There is still further I want to go, but when you work slowly with patience you will reach the level that you want.”
Tity Tshilumba’s exhibition, The Daily Life, is at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in the Main Gallery from 13 October until 5 November 2016.