Local artists debut at Joburg fair

Maria Mbereshu and Lynette Musukubili. Photos: Martha Mukaiwa

Local artists Maria Mbereshu and Lynette Musukubili made their RMB Latitudes Art Fair debut in Johannesburg on the weekend.

Kindred in their vibrant colour palettes as well as in their distinctive construction of vivid textiles, the duo showed in the contemporary African art festival’s Glass Marquee after their recent studio residency at The Project Room in Windhoek.

RMB Latitudes Art Fair is a meeting of the continental and diasporic arts community and took place from 24 to 26 May.

The indoor-outdoor event is hosted throughout the three-acre Shepstone Gardens and visitors are encouraged to amble through the festival’s exhibition halls amid sprawling gardens, and up to the rooftop pavilion while engaging in a dynamic programme of exhibitions and talks.

“I didn’t attend the festival, but my soul did. I was so excited to share my spoons and my circles,” says Mbereshu, who showed 13 artworks.

The recurring imagery in Mbereshu’s collection are the circle which represents the void of not knowing her father and the wooden spoon (rukere) which speaks to her love of cooking, as well as to ideas about womanhood in the Kavango culture as passed down through her mother’s family.

“Usually, it’s my personal stories that inspire me to be creative,” says Mbereshu as she puts the finishing touches on a mixed media piece from her workspace at The Project Room.

Musukubili, who is blow-drying a large crocheted wall hanging nearby, similarly draws on the culture and wisdom of her mother, but primarily through technique.

“This collection is about growth, embracing change and being adaptable, not only personally but generationally,” says Musukubili, who showed 11 textiles and sculptures, the latter based on traditional basket weaving.

“My basket technique is one my mother learned from her mother, and which I am now learning from my mother.”

Though each artist has previously exhibited in South Africa and neither attended the festival in person, they both relished the opportunity to showcase their work in collaboration with The Project Room and from an exciting new platform.

The Project Room’s participation in this year’s ‘Latitudes’ was sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Namibia.

“We need to put our art out there for professional growth and to be a part of the international art market,” says Mbereshu.

The artist also shares her gratitude to The Project Room for making their studio available to create the work for their first ‘Latitudes’ showing.

“We really had all the space we needed to create these collections, especially for the bigger artworks,” says Musukubili.

“Hopefully people saw that Namibia has a very active art industry, and more people will come and see our work.”

– martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News