01 Jun 2017

Artwork of the month!

Ndasuunje ‘Papa’ Shikongeni, Waiting to Receive, Cardboard Print on Paper, 2013

Ndasuunje Shikongeni, popularly known as “Papa”, is a locally and internationally recognised Namibian artist. Shikongeni’s skills in the visual arts are diverse, ranging from sculpture to printmaking. Waiting to Receive is an artwork produced using the cardboard print method unique to Namibian printmaking, developed in response to the inaccessibility of other more expensive printmaking materials such as linoleum and wood blocks. Collected from the Land Matters in Art exhibition in 2013, this print speaks to the topical issues of landlessness for many Namibians as Namibia undergoes land reform processes in an attempt to counter the legacies of imbalanced distribution of land under colonialism and Apartheid. The land reform processes have proved difficult for many reasons, one being that during the time it takes for negotiations to be made, the artist argues, many Namibians see themselves “in competition with one another for scarce traditional land and resources”. Of the issue depicted in the artwork, Shikongeni says “[l]and needs to be valued, and to be seen as adding value for the new generations and people’s lives”.

Over the past decade, Shikongeni’s works depicting different aspects of Namibian culture and traditions have been showcased around the world. In his home country, the artist has exhibited extensively and his work is included in many public and private collections.  Shikongeni has received many awards for his artworks, including the first prize for the three dimensional sculpture at the 2014 Bank Windhoek Triennial Competition held at the National Art Gallery of Namibia.

Shikongeni teaches youth the importance of art and craft in community development. Since 1994 he has taught in all over Namibia, including at primary and secondary schools, colleges and in community programmes. He has lectured at the John Muafangejo Art Centre, Rundu College of Education, and Ongwediva College of Education. He has also been a visual art facilitator for the National Art Extension Programme with the College of the Arts. From 2002 to 2009, Shikongeni was Centre Director of the John Muafangejo Art Centre, Namibia’s training ground for young artists in different disciplines. He continues to lecture at the College of the Arts. 

Shikongeni will be showing his latest exploration of media with an exhibition of photography called ‘Inspiration Through the Lens, home is where the heart belongs’, opening 22 June at the National Art Gallery of Namibia at 18h00.

More in this category: