The National Art Gallery of Namibia ( NAGN)  is pleased to announce the event, ‘Celebrating 30 years in the making’,  a book launch on the history of print makers in Namibia taking place on 9 October 2019 at 18h00 at the NAGN.

‘A history of printmakers in Namibia Celebrating 30 years’ in the making is the initiative of Namibian Visual Artist, sculptor and printmaker Alfeus Mvula. The book is homage to the printmakers who deeply imprinted the history of Namibia through contributions they made in the arts between 1990 to present, but also to showcase the innovativeness and creating of printmaking since the seminal contribution of the late John Muafangejo (1943-1987).

The technique of print-making in Namibia is one that dates back to the 1980s, when Dimitri Spiros, first taught cardboard printing at the former Academy for Tertiary Education in Windhoek between 1984 and 1985, influenced one of his student, Joseph Madisia, and the former director of the National Art Gallery of Namibia to master the skill of cardboard printing. Madisia further taught the technique to renowned visual artists such as Asser Karita, Andrew Van Wyk, Peter Mwahalungange, Kosta Shipenga, Max Shiimi, Max Edison Katshuna and Ndasuunje PAPA Shikongeni. Some of these students were taught from home, while others were taught at the old Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC).

Cultural diverse heritage concepts were depicted in most of the artists’ works, with cultural material such as engraved ivory buttons, customary ceramic ware and musical instruments as well as local dress, which inspired most of the work of these artists.

The establishment of John Muafangejo Art Centre (JMAC) in 1988 led by Annaleen Eins, together with Andre Strauss and François de Necker from 1990 onwards, paved a way to this technique dominating the post independent Namibia art fraternity. The purpose of the centre was to actively promote printmaking, which led to Namibian artists inventing cardboard printing as a signature medium in the Namibian Art scene.

In 1994, JMAC was relaunched as a full time centre for art education by Jo Rogge under the patronage of the National Art Gallery of Namibia, implementing a contemporary interdisciplinary approach. The three year programme started with Rogge as lecture for printmaking in media including etching, linocuts, collographs and monoprints. Renowned Namibian Visual artist Ndasuunje PAPA Shikongeni was the first facilitator to teach cardboard relief making prints at the JMAC when he started in 1999, and in 2002 he was appointed as the Centre Director, when JMAC moved to Katutura Community Art Centre, under subsidiary of the Directorate of Arts, in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.

The technique of printmaking is common in today’s Namibian art scene and continues to be re-invented by marrying it with different relief printmaking techniques and the discovery of new realms to it.

The book gives life to Cultural Tourism Art that portrays the norms and values of Namibian Identity.

The history of printmaking has demonstrated that Namibian artists have mastered the technique of cardboard printing and have produced works of substance. Many of these prints are significant because they embody important aspects of Namibian heritage and experience. Therefore, the contribution by Namibian printmakers warrants formal recognition in any consideration of the development of visual arts in Namibia. The cardboard technique has been expanded to regional and international countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, Sweden, and Senegal.

This book serves to nurture and ensure that the legacy of the legend John Muafangejo and guru artist Joseph Madisia continues as it provides bread on the table for many Namibian artists, representative collection, documentation, study and publication of their work.

Join us in celebrating the meaningful contribution of printmakers towards the development of the Post Independent Namibian Visual Art Industry!

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