Mmegi Online :: Namibian artist takes up Thapong residency
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Last Updated
Friday 20 July 2018, 14:06 pm.
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Namibian artist takes up Thapong residency

Thapong Visual Arts Centre is currently hosting a Namibian artist, Petrus-Namholo Kewowo, who has taken up a three-month residency.
By Staff Writer Sat 21 Jul 2018, 15:45 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Namibian artist takes up Thapong residency








Asked why he chose to take residency at Thapong, he replied: "I have always wanted to explore the use of different media and share my experiences with other professionals from outside my country and Thapong seemed the best place to visit."

He further says that one of the things that whetted his desire to visit the country was his friendship with a Motswana artist based in Namibia, Kabelo Modise, who always talked about the visual arts in Botswana. His chance came when he saw an advert inviting artists to apply for residency at Thapong in the website of Visual Artists of Namibia Organisation (VAN), of which he is a member.

"I am sure that a lot of people applied for the residency and I am confident that the reason why I succeeded in clinching it is because of the strong motivation letter that I wrote," Kewowo says.

He further says that when he applied, he had also highlighted that he wanted the residency because he longed to be given an opportunity to work as a full-time artist.
Kewowo grew up in the village of Omatwadiva in the Okalongo district where he did his primary before moving to Tsumeb for his secondary education. Interestingly, the 29-year-old artist says that he only did art as a subject at tertiary level.

The artist says that although he did not do art in his primary and secondary school days, he loved drawing and was good at making objects such as wire-cars. After finishing his secondary education he took a break from school and went to neighbouring Mozambique where he survived doing what he calls handiwork.

"I then realised that if I did not further my education, I was going to end up a nobody, so I decided to go back home and applied for a place at the University of Namibia," he says.

Unfortunately for him, he could not come up with the registration fee, which was a prerequisite for admission, and as if that were not enough, his father died the same day he was supposed to be

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admitted to the university. Hoping for something worthy to crop up in the near future, the would-be student resignedly went to his father's funeral.

The following year in 2006, he heard about the Windhoek College of the Arts and applied for a place. He says one of the requirements for admission was that one should be able to produce an impressive piece impromptu during the interview and he managed to impress the panel of judges.

As someone from a disadvantaged background, he could not afford to pay his school fees so he had to work extra hard so that he could secure a bursary throughout his time at the college.

He managed to succeed in getting  the bursary by being the first-prize winner in three consecutive years, which helped keep him afloat.

In 2008, the artist finished his diploma in fine arts at the college and this year, he got a job as a technical assistant at Studio 77 Photographic Studio and Gallery.

ccording to Kewowo, Namibian art is more or less the same as Botswana art, though he has noted that most Batswana artists tend to be more into painting. He says that he has also realised that Namibian sculptures tend to borrow a lot from their Zimbabwean counterparts.

He further says that during his short stay in Botswana, he would like to work with Thapong-based sculptor, Joseph Piet. Piet unlike most traditional sculptors prefers to use metal and other less conventional media as opposed to stone and wood.

"I like the way Piet uses fabrics and grass to give his artworks certain character and I approached him about helping me with that technique. I think he is the one artist here I would like to spend most of my time with," says the Namibian artist.

Kewowo has also taken some printmaking tips from San artist,  Moses Maaramela, who is also a painter of note.

The Namibian is also gearing to meet students from a number of secondary schools in Gaborone who he hopes to mentor before he returns to his home country.

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