Mwashindange’s ceramic works stand out

By Rosalia David

MUSICIAN and University of Namibia arts graduate Patrick Mwashindange’s self-made ceramic pots, bowls and plates appear to be stealing the show at the 2019 UNAM Visual Arts graduates exhibition, currently on at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN).

With the year drawing to an end, NAGN in collaboration with UNAM welcomed the Visual Arts graduates to the professional art world with an exhibition currently on view until 25 January 2020.

It is interesting to see ceramic art take centre-ground amid the technology boom that has influenced the creative output of many artists and contributed in some respects to the diminishing of traditional cultural art forms.

Mwashindange’s set, titled ‘Improving Me’ reminds one of times bygone when our grandparents would sit in the shade of a tree making ceramic pieces for their homes without having to worry about where the money to buy new pots and bowls would come from.

As much as his earthy pieces somehow reminds us of where we come from, his work in ‘Improving Me’ also demonstrates the tangible link to the artist’s African roots and the capability of his hands.

His work stood out, partly because there were really no other similar works in close proximity, although there were several clusters of related works arranged throughout the exhibition. Given the near infinite combinations of clays, subjects, styles, and firing combinations available to choose from, the selection confidently reflects his vision.

There were only a few pieces that seemed under par in relation to the high standard set by Mwashindange’s work, but among the offering of the other young artists, a few other items in the exhibition room engaged the viewer on a visceral level too, while admittedly some of the works were less engaging, although suggestive of strong potential.

According to the NAGN, the pieces currently on exhibit are by graduates majoring in various fields such as Art for Advertising, Ceramic Studies, Creative Expression, Fashion Studies and Visual Culture. It’s well worth a visit.