Namibia loses a talented sculptor
OMARURU will miss Tate Paulo Cachinga. The local sculptor died last week after a short illness at the age of 48.
According to Hanne Alpers, a close friend of Cachinga’s in the world of art, Omaruru and Namibia “has lost a son”.
Cachinga’s works are seen daily in this town: two giant donkeys in front of the museum; a giant elephant at the entrance to town; and a giraffe at the municipality. On a national level, the late Cachinga’s ‘King Mandume Ndemufayo’, a giant sculpture, can be seen at the National Art Gallery in Windhoek. He was also the winner of the First Standard Bank Biennale in 1992 and again in 1997.
“His, is perhaps the same fate that swallowed many a great name in the history of art. Van Gogh, Gauguin, Mozart. They died, penniless, in obscurity, unrecognised for their greatness, misunderstood, prematurely. It is a sad truth of true artists and it was one I had hoped would not have befallen Tate Paulo. However, unlike most of the former names, Tate Paulo, despite disappointments and hardship, was someone who was always cheerful, helpful and communicated in German, English, Afrikaans, Kavango and Oshiwambo with equal ease,” said Alpers.
According to her, he was the most productive and creative sculptor in Namibia, with no formal education nor art education and was self trained in everything.
He was an excellent welder, a good mechanic, a solid plumber, a truck driver, but mostly, he was a man who could handle a chain saw like others handle a penknife and he was always cheerful, according to Alpers.
Carving wooden sculptures from roots started as a childhood pastime when he was herding cattle in his home region Kavango near Rundu and this became his full time job for many years, working for ‘Tikoloshe Root Carvings’ in Omaruru.
He could do more than bend wood. He would hammer charming animals out of mangled scrap iron.
“Last year during the Marble Sculpting Work Shop at Omuntu Garden, Tate Paulo even outdid himself. Due to work pressure, he could only attend one afternoon of the ten day workshop, however, within a few hours, using a grinder on the marble like a razor blade in butter, a running hippo emerged out of the solid block. Such was the raw talent of Tate Paulo, said Alpers.
He also received a grant from the National Arts Council in the form of tools which enabled him to pursue his talent independently, This was fulfilled the dream of his life and was supposed to build his ‘Nest Egg’, as he proudly called his new independent company.
“The ‘giraffe’ on Main Street was to be his last greeting to us from his creative hand,” said Alpers.
Cachinga leaves behind Maria, his wife of many years and eight children.
His other dream was to live in a cement house, according to Alpers, and he had just put down the deposit for the small one-bedroom house before his death, but the deposit is now needed to cover his funeral costs.
“The family is left without any financial means and for those who want to make a contribution to Cachinga’s family, they can make a donation at the OmARTE Gallery, Omaruru, where a book will be available for registration and messages,” said Alpers.