Evoking Beauty in Silence
“I am balanced by absorbing beauty, by absorbing golden light on the grass and by absorbing what it feels like when I walk barefoot on the earth.”
Wildlife artist from Germany, Annika Funke, came to Namibia for the first time in 2008. It was love at first sight, well first with the wildlife here and then with her soon-to-be Namibian husband. While Annika has exhibited her work all over the world, her recent exhibition in Windhoek titled Etosha’s Waterholes – a choreography, she says was perhaps her favourite. 99FM MYD Art met up with this gentle souled artist to find out why this was her favourite exhibition and where she draws her creativity from.
“Since I could hold a brush I was painting.” Says Annika, “I was born with a passion for wildlife, but while I am not a scientist I was also born as an artist.”
Annika explains that she knew that coming to Africa was always the goal not only for her creative expression but also for her soul. “I studied African science just to be able to go to Africa one day. I used to work as a journalist and I would spend all my time in the zoo of Koln. I came to Africa so that I could be with the animals and be where the animals live.” Annika explains that “Being an artist is about producing everything about who you are and so I felt that I needed to have the real experience myself in order to tell a story that is real.”
Her paintings are hauntingly beautiful depictions of wildlife whose essence comes to life through the paint on the canvas. When asked what learning she has had as an artist along her journey, Annika notes that for an artist, “It is important that you follow your heart and practise very hard to become an artist. This means also, not listening to the opinions of others but rather following your passion.” She adds that “Being an artist requires a bit of bravery because it is not the safe career and often it is not a steady income and of course we all have to finance our lives. This can be the very hard part for an artist but you have to keep going forward and not lose your focus.” Annika adds that “When we listen to ourselves, how often do we tell ourselves this is really good especially as an artist and this is very destructive.”
Her advice, sharing what has worked for her is to “find a balance that gives back to you. When you are creating you are giving out but what gives back to you is what creates the balance inside and that makes you peaceful and fills up your batteries. For me personally, this is the reason why I moved to Namibia. What balances me is being in the wild, being with the animals, being in silence. I am balanced by absorbing beauty, by absorbing golden light on the grass and by absorbing what it feels like when I walk barefoot on the earth.”
“Life is about being real and I think we get so lost, especially in our times. In Europe today one of the main illnesses is mental illness and depression. I think it comes so much from the fact that people are so disconnected from anything real. Today children don’t even walk barefoot anymore.”
Annika explains that we also need connection to our inner world and this can be found in silence, “People can’t be in silence anymore and this is sad. If you can’t be in silence then you will not be able to create.” For her, the best remedy is “Spend time in the beautiful Namibian desert. Spend time being barefoot in the sand listening to the silence of the bush.”
When talking about her recent exhibition Annika says that “My passion for wildlife goes hand in hand with wildlife conservation and if I am going to tell the story of wildlife then I want to paint wildlife as real and beautiful as I can. Now, I’ve prepared this exhibition and I think it is my favourite exhibition ever. I have done a few exhibitions overseas but this one is giving back to this space [Namibia] that gave all this beauty to me. Namibia is 100% of where I am happy and where I want to stay.”
You’ll find Annika’s work through her website by clicking here : Annika Funke
Or on her Facebook page by clicking here : Annika Funke
An artist so passionate about wildlife, in this her recent solo Exhibition, Annika gave 15% of all sales to the Desert Lion Project.
Article by Kirsty Watermeyer