Contemporary Connections in Art
Tulina Nakashona is a Namibian textile artist, Thabo Pitso is a South African sculptor and installation artist. What connects these two artists is that their work stands side by side at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) as part of the Tulipamwe International Artists’ Workshop and Exhibition.
The workshop and exhibition brings together artists from all over the globe to work side by side with Namibian artists and create a platform for exchange of ideas and collaboration. With togetherness as the calling card of this event, 99FM’s MYD Art spoke to these two artists to find out how connection acts as a tool for growth in the arts.
“I think it’s critical for contemporary artists to meet other contemporaries from African countries.”
“For me, connection is about networking. It’s about being in a network and knowing what’s going on.” Says Tulina who adds that being a part of this exhibition has made her a stronger artist because, “in speaking to other artists you realise that their goals can be possible goals for you too. This expands your horizons and connects you on an international level.”
Thabo explains by saying, “I think it’s critical for contemporary artists to meet other contemporaries from African countries. The majority of artists who are in this workshop are artists from Africa and with limited resources. The workshop provided a platform and through the process of working together, one gets to learn new techniques, new languages, new cultures and what you find is that we are all the same, just from different countries.”
“Workshops like this allow us to engage, to share and each artist goes back to their country with a different outlook about how we can approach a situation. It has allowed us to explore other opportunities, other avenues and it’s always good to showcase work outside of your comfort zone.” Says Thabo who’s work focuses on the relationship between our desires for material possessions that move from cherished pieces to objects that end up in landfills. “It starts with an object you desire to get, and then you purchase, you consume, and then you discard. I focused on the issues around mass produced objects and consumption with my art.”
“Just knowing that you have a certain freedom, like a freedom to explore, to be self-reliant and self sufficient, is independence, Because, if you know it is possible, then you can easily go for it.”
Tulina notes that, while we recently celebrated Namibian Independence, as an artist, “Just knowing that you have a certain freedom, like a freedom to explore, to be self-reliant and self sufficient, is independence, Because, if you know it is possible, then you can easily go for it.”
Thabo adds, “I still believe that the African artist must realise that we strong but that we have to make it for ourselves. It is possible.” However, he adds “I think that we, as the young artists or as the current contemporary African artist, should not only think about ourselves, but about the purpose of why we here.”
Tulina advises how we can all adopt the learnings of the Tulipamwe International Artists’ Workshop and Exhibition in life, “start with something that’s a personal connection to you. What do you feel strongly about? Talk to people that are likeminded. Then stay connected to these people, this keeps you motivated. The more you stay connected, the more motivated you become.”
The first Tulipamwe International Artists’ Workshop was initiated by the Visual Arts Department at the University of Namibia in 1994. The collection from the 2017 Tulipamwe International Artists’ Workshop is on display at the National Art Gallery of Namibia until the 15th of April 2017.
Written by Kirsty Watermeyer