Black Society Namibia advocates inclusive arts support

Black Society Namibia founder Shatiwa Kaliteke says the society was established from a need to address the lack of representation and support for black artists in Namibia.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, Kaliteke, who also refers to himself as ‘Son of the Soil’, emphasised the need for recognition of the social and economic inequalities faced by artists in the arts sector.

“Black Society Namibia arose from a desire to address the lack of representation and support for black artists in the arts and crafts industry, and a recognition of the social and economic inequalities they face,” Kaliteke said.

He added that the society empowers artists by providing platforms where they can showcase their work to increase visibility and access to potential buyers or collaborators.

They also do this by providing skills development workshops and training for artists and by promoting community building, he said.

“Representation matters as it ensures a variety of voices, styles and experiences that are showcased, enriching the industry and attracting a wider audience.”

He believes breaking barriers challenges biases and promotes inclusivity, allowing artists from underrepresented groups to compete on a level playing field.

Although the name ‘Black Society’ may appear exclusionary, the society promotes inclusivity by hosting open events where all artists are welcome, regardless of race, background or experience level, Kaliteke said.

“By promoting inclusivity, empowerment and skill development, Black Society strives to build a more vibrant and equitable arts and crafts industry for the future.”

Kaliteke emphasised a focus on skills, talent and shared values, where the focus is on social justice encouraged by a supportive and collaborative environment.

He said the society looks to the future with the hope that diversity becomes economic equity and the arts, a catalyst for change.

“The future of Black Society Namibia sees the arts and crafts industry as inclusive and supportive of all artists, regardless of race, background or social standing… artists from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to thrive financially from their talent and artistic expression is recognised as a powerful tool for social justice and positive change,” Kaliteke said.

The importance of inclusive arts lies in the recognition of the value of a diverse arts scene, the belief that everyone has the potential to express themselves through art and the understanding that art can be a powerful tool for positive change.

Black Society Namibia will be hosting ‘The Creative Connect’ at the Village Garden on 6 April, featuring live music, poetry, dance, fashion and locally made goods.

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