Art that Suspends You in Space
Hangula Werner is a Namibian artist who captures audiences with his vivid surrealist art pieces and who has re-emerged after a six-year hiatus with an exhibition, titled Hangula Werner Surreal, at the FNCC in Windhoek.
99FM’s MYD Art caught up with the animated yet humble artist whose style is unique and multi-faceted, “some people say that they’re looking at more than one artist when they look at my work, I like hearing that to tell you the truth. I think it’s a beautiful thing to hear.” Says Hangula who explains that in this exhibition, there are connected elements within his work and while one viewer of his exhibition said that they weren’t sure of what his identity was because of all the different elements in his work, another person said that she found his work inspiring because of the frequency of birds, fire, earth, wind. These elements, he explains, connect all his work. Hangula notes that he loves the elements, birds and creating space within a piece of art. “I enjoy making people feel like they’re taking off and flying, I also enjoy playing with the idea of space, using landscapes, structure and lines to transport the viewer into the picture.”
Hangula is not restricted by only one medium and notes that artists in Namibia should allow themselves to be free from the technical methods taught in school as it’s when they achieve that freedom within their work that they truly can tap into their talent.
Not afraid to paint on everything from tiles to metal, Hangula explains, “I love to tell stories and if you look at a painting twice you could see something different. Everyone has an interpretation that’s unique to them and that’s the beauty of art.”
Hangula tells a story of how one of his pieces accidentally turned out, “I had been painting on three pieces of paper at the same time, different drawings and they weren’t complete when it began to rain. By the time I realised that it was raining on my painting, it had already rained all over my work. The rain created splash marks and smudged the paint, but I took the smeared paint and worked it into the final piece to create a painting about the first rains, that was made with the first rains.”
Hangula is no stranger to exhibiting his work, having exhibited in Germany and Portugal, however this exhibition is not only special because he hasn’t exhibited in the last few years but also because this is a celebration of his 40th birthday. He explains, “Art is my happy place.”
Hangula’s hiatus from exhibiting came about because his family was expanding after he became a father and got married. While he had been working on different projects that include commissioned art pieces and murals, he explains, “I was living life with those that I love most and my love of art was ever-present, but I didn’t realised just how much I missed time to just paint”. When he started working on this exhibition he says he thought to himself,
“Aah, I didn’t know how nice this was going to be, I was catching up, touching up and preparing. It was nice to just be with my art. It’s what makes me happy.”
Art has always been Hangula’s passion and he notes that, “It has never been about making art for other people to buy or to judge. Art should be expressive and not really for monetary gain, however it is always nice for artists to be able to make money from their work.”
For more information about Hangula Werner’s Surreal Exhibition at the FNCC, click here