99FM – Your Inspiration Station

The Freedom in Losing the Layers

This post contains images of an adult nature.

Contemporary artist and nude photographer, Julia Hango, is showcasing how knowing yourself is the key to finding your niche in the creative world. Self-taught, Julia, who is widely known as JuliART, has just opened another fresh exhibition at the FNCC titled #NakedSpaces. The exhibition is a series of photographs of Namibians who have stripped their defences and posed nude in the natural world. The write up of the exhibition reads “Exploring the human in nature, the conservative and hypocritical mindset as well as the male dominated culture of Namibia.”

99FM’s MYD Art caught up with this young, budding Namibian artist to talk about pushing boundaries and representing yourself as an artist in a space where the work you do is “not the norm.”

99FM’s MYD Art asked :
How did you become a photographer?

AB 3“I picked up the camera and I never stopped. I started my photography career at a media house, Nawazone. We used to do photographic coverage of events and I used to be one of their only female photographers.”

How did you get into the art of nude photography?

“I felt that as a photographer, I am not much of a competitor and as a commercial photographer you need to be able to really stand out from the rest. There are so many competitive photographers that are really great at what they do. So I looked inside myself and asked myself what kind of photography I really wanted to do. It needed to be something that I like and actually enjoy, so that I don’t do this purely to make money. While obviously I want to make a living, I still wanted to do something I would enjoy. I have been a nudist forever. It made sense.”

AB 2How important is it as an artist, to know yourself?

“It starts with being selfish. I had to be selfish and say that this is what I want and so I am going to go and do it. It’s when you build up enough internally for you that you can start giving it away and it starts flowing out to other people. This is how selfishness turns to selflessness.”

What has your experience as a nude photographer been like?

“For me exhibitions are a way of giving Namibia a bit of me and my art, although it hasn’t always been received in the way it was intended. I have had a backlash from many people, people who will privately say that they support you and publicly try and shame you.”

“People tell me I’m being brave, but as an artist this is the worst compliment. I am not trying to be brave; I am trying to share my work. I have had people ask me who my parents are as a way to understand why I am doing this and the more I explain that it is a form of art, they look at me like I am crazy”

AB 1What is process like for you to share your work in Namibia?

“I’ve had very interesting experiences at my exhibitions; most of them have been negative. I think a lot of people in Namibia come to my shows to belittle the models for being naked. To see if they can recognise the person that is naked and if they recognise the person that is naked then they feel the need to say to me : I know that person.”

“At my last show, I had nude models and I had men harassing the models. What was worse was that the venue and people involved didn’t do anything to stop the harassers.”

“There is no space here for me and my work, yet. It seems there is only room for pointing fingers” she says with a laugh.

Julia says that is has been an arduous process for her to share her art with the art community and with the people of Namibia with the negative response she has often received. She notes though that this has not been the case at her international exhibitions. This young Namibian has exhibited at major exhibitions in Sweden and Cape Town with acclaim and applause. She notes “It’s weird how we still have such a fear if anything different.”

Explain the creative process for nude photography?

Julia 2

“It’s okay to be naked, but not only in the sense of without clothes, is okay to let go of all the things, layers we pile over ourselves every day.”

“I try to provide a space where people can express that within themselves. It’s so interesting how when I ask a model why they are willing to participate in a nude shoot, they often answer by talking about their insecurities. That, no matter how confident they are, when they look in the mirror they see something they see something else, something they don’t like.”


What advice do you have for artists in Namibia?

Julia 1“Don’t over think it. Do it for you and be happy about it. And with this approach, everything else will come.”

Julia’s exhibition, Naked Spaces, is open at the FNCC until the 2nd of June 2016.

For more information take a look at Julia’s Facebook page : JuliArt

For more information on the Naked Spaces exhibition, take a look at FNCC events page : Naked Spaces

Or the events page on Facebook : Naked Spaces