Snobia Kaputa, CEO of the National Art Gallery of Namibia talks to ICOM UK about the forthcoming MA Conference session on Southern African Museums.

 Snobia Kaputu, CEO, National Art Gallery of Namibia

The National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) is a member of ICOM and the time is right to become part of key sector conferences like the MA Conference in Belfast.  Creating art museum dialogues on international platforms is long overdue for many Southern African museums.

In Belfast, we are keen to explore collaborative partnership initiatives around our government mandate to build a NAGN Art Heritage Collection and to build expertise in the preservation, conservation and storage of our collections.  Our museum is looking to support Namibia’s contemporary artists and to develop platforms in which to showcase their work in a global context.  The NAGN relies on its artists to build a collection that reflects its community’s practices, hence the importance of developing creative platforms for artists and giving them access to global museums and galleries.

We are also actively seeking art critics, writers and researchers to work with our collections to document the growing contemporary Namibian art scene.  I know that Ndeenda Shivute is eager to collaborate with ICOM colleagues using the potential in Namibia to work alongside our young curatorial team, and on new exhibitions and projects.

I would like to thank ICOM UK for their generous support and look forward to hearing from interested ICOM UK members.

To connect with the National Art Gallery of Namibia, please write to ICOM UK at uk.icom.museum@gmail.comor attend the ICOM UK luncheon on 8 November at the MA Conference.

Winds of Change: The State of Museums in Southern Africa.  

ICOM UK supports the first African museum session at the MA Conference in Belfast on Thursday 8 November at 12.10.

Africa is changing, and so are its museums, re-imagining themselves for a new future.

This year ICOM UK with the Museums Association is supporting the first conference session on Southern African museums.  Professor Catherine McDermott will chair a discussion with Ernestine White-Mifetu Curator of Contemporary Art at the Iziko South African National Gallery, (Iziko Museums of South Africa) and Ndeenda Shivute, Curatorial Coordinator at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) in Windhoek.



The session looks at Southern Africa museums, their inherited colonial past and tries to unpacks the transformation strategies that have been implemented post-1994 (RSA) and post-independence (NAM) to make it accessible for and African public.

Issues of ‘access’ are central to the discussion: Access in relation to the visible Neo- colonial architecture, the physical locality of the museum and its potential for community engagement and finally the influx and relationships of private museums to state-funded institutions.

The 2018 Museums Association conference is held in Belfast from November 8-10th, the biggest event of its kind in Europe for museum, gallery and heritage professionals across the world. The theme is Dissent: inspiring Hope, Embracing Change, challenges traditional thinking to transform museums and society.

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