A landmark exhibition, Roots of the First Tree, will open on Thursday 29 August at the National Gallery in Namibia. Featuring oil paintings, water colours, Lino prints and sculpture made by Juǀ’hoansi, !Xung and Haiǁom artists from resettlement farms in Omaheke and Ohangwena, this will be the first comprehensive exhibition of contemporary San art ever to be shown in the National Gallery of Namibia.
The book ‘Roots of the First Tree’, by Karin le Roux, will be launched at the exhibition. It is an evocative description of the author’s collaborative — and transformative — art journey to remote Namibian resettlement farms to work with emergent San artists between 2002 and 2019. It also features a gallery of works produced by the artists over a span of 17 years.
Now known to be the most enduring population in all human history — and the largest human group anywhere on earth up till 20 000 years ago — the voice of the San has rarely been heard above the noise of modern politics. Art has proved to be one of the most compelling mediums to help the artists themselves carve a path in a radically transformed and transforming new world.
The exhibition will be opened at 18h00 by Dr Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly.