Amutse’s eye on Namibian photography

Namafu Amutse. Photo: Contributed

As contemporary Namibian photography continues to introduce a slate of exciting, aesthetic and experimental new shutterbugs, Namafu Amutse is a name to know.

Diversifying visual characterisations of manhood in series such as ‘Soft’ and ‘Chrysalis’, Amutse’s emotive and award-winning photography was recently featured in Joshua Amissah’s ‘Black Masculinities’ (2023) in Lolwe and won the inaugural Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Award for visual art.

The self-taught young artist made her solo photographic debut with ‘Bright Eyes into Afrofuturism’ curated by Efano Efano in 2020.

Amutse is also the screenwriter and director of ‘Mukumo’ (2020), a Goethe Stage short film, as well as the creative director behind Lioness’ music video for ‘Feelings’, featuring Waters.

Having opened last year’s visual art scene with ‘Side by Side’ alongside artist Candice Mouton, Amutse reflects on a year in which Namibian photography seemed to reach new heights.

“I must applaud that 2023 was a good year for photography. To name some things that peaked my interest, ReFrame Kollektiv saw a number of young Namibian photographers debuting their documentary photography in Berlin.

“StArt Art Gallery kick-started the year with a ‘Side by Side’ exhibition I had the pleasure of being a part of, and not to mention the ‘We Will Be Free’ group exhibition that opened in Makhanda, South Africa,” says Amutse.

The artist was also impressed by ‘See Me’, a showcase of portraiture, curated by The Project Room, and commends spaces such as Goethe-Institut Namibia, Sweet Side of Thingz, the Namibian Arts Association, the National Art Gallery of Namibia, Doek! Literary Magazine, and the now permanently closed Café Prestige for being homes and networking spaces for photography, emerging photographers and visual artists at large.

While last year’s photographic offerings were diverse, responding to selfie culture, expanding images of home and considering freedom in contemporary Namibia, Amutse doesn’t feel the need to suggest any themes she hopes to see, but rather encourages budding photographers to dig deep.

“Without specifying themes, subjects or styles, my main interest is seeing Namibian photographers challenge ourselves to capture the kind of images that tell a unique story about who we are, where we come from, and where we see ourselves heading to. Images that show depth, dream and risk,” says Amutse.

“I believe more photographers have emerged over the years, and I am excited to see how they continue exploring the artform while visually translating their thoughts and ideas for all of us to indulge in.”

Considering her own visual exploration for 2024, Amutse teases a return to her professional photographic roots as first seen in ‘Bright Eyes into Afrofuturism’.

‘Definitely expect new futuristic work,” she says.

“For now, I have work up at the Sweet Side of Thingz on Independence, titled ‘Soft’ and ‘Chrysalis’ as part of the group exhibition titled ‘We Will Be Free’ by Tschuku Tschuku and curated by Start Art Gallery.

“’Soft’ serves to combat hegemonic forms of black masculinity, and ‘Chrysalis’ explores a transitional state of being.”

As for Amutse’s creative mood going forward, the artist leaves it up to the creator of ‘Insecure’, ‘Rap Shit’ and current, and the president of Barbie Land.

“My mood for 2024 is whatever Issa Rae said.”

–; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram;

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