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A Namibian Teacher Who is Not Done Learning

A group of talented artists make up this years University of Namibia (UNAM) Visual Arts Graduates 2016. Showing their eclectic styles, the graduates are all part of an exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) and the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) which runs from the 10th of November until the 7th of December.

5b7308fc-7334-4640-87d4-b8466d267e8799FM’s MYD Art spent some time with some of Namibia’s latest art graduates to hear about their journey to the completion of their studies and what we can expect from them next. Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you a few, of these arts graduates, amazing stories.

This years graduation is especially significant because it includes the first graduation of the ceramics students. Ceramics Studies was only re-introduced at UNAM in 2013.

Isai Aindongo, is an art teacher by profession who wanted to further his knowledge of art so that he can take his skills back to the students he teaches at St Barnabas Primary School in Katatura. Isai was part of the first intake of Ceramics Studies at UNAM in 2013. He has now graduated.

“I like the feeling of clay, and it has such a interesting history, but for me to study ceramics was not an easy thing. My grandmother was a great clay pot maker, but in the Oshiwambo culture it is a taboo for a man to make clay pots. I was even nervous when I entered the studio for the first time.” Says Isai

img_2453“I didn’t know that I would be able to express myself using clay because of my beliefs that a man can not work with clay. But I tried; I put these thoughts aside and enrolled as a student. Nothing happened to me, other than me enjoying it. I feel like a pioneer because we were the first ceramics graduates as well. I can’t even explain the feeling, I am so happy to see myself at a level I never dreamed of being.”

Aindongo’s artistic talents have taken him to Marseilles is France, “I was awarded a trip to Marseilles. We went there and represented Namibia. At that time I was doing mixed media, paintings and sculptures. It was great.”

img_2441Proving the importance of a support system, Isai Aindongo notes that his family have been a critical part of his success, “My parents are very proud and continue to encourage me in what I’m doing. There was a time I was seriously considering pursuing other things and forgetting about my talents but they didn’t let me. They encouraged me to continue and to further my studies.”

When asked how he became an art teacher, Aindongo explains, “when I graduated from the College of the Arts, the Directorate of Art appointed me as a lecturer in the Oshikoto region. I lived in Tsumeb. I later decided that I wanted to further and improve my skills so I applied to the University of Namibia to study further. Now I am teaching in Katutura, at St Barnabus Primary School. I teach Grade 4 to 7. I also have another class at the Katutura Community Art Centre.”

The UNAM Visual Arts Graduates Exhibition 2016, is on in the Main Gallery of the National Art Gallery of Namibia from 10 November until 7 December 2016. This Exhibition will also be showing at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre.