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Namibia Land Art – Conversations about Conservation

A collaborative project between the John Mufangejo Art Centre, Endgame Media Namibia, and land artists, Strijdom van der Merwe & Anni Snyman and PC Janse Van Rensburg

Project Background

Namibia is one of the world’s driest countries. This past year brought drought, water shortages, extreme temperatures and heat waves. Scientists say much of this is driven by human carbon emissions. Ac¬cording to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Southern part of Africa has been warming at 1.5 times the world average.

Climate change and water short¬ages are here to stay. This is a fact. How shall we as a nation adapt to these circumstances in all wakes of life? Is it perhaps time to spark a new conversation – and a new way of thinking? Who will lead this conversation? Will this conversation be innovative and fresh, will it draw the youth to step forward and voice how they feel about the land we love – will it invite them to step forward and protect what they love? What will propel them to take action?

Nature of the Conversation

Definition of land art: Land art is the creation of art with what is available at a specific site. Generally, artists use natural materials, such as sticks, stones, sand, water, and natural processes such as tides and wind to form communion with the land that changes one’s perceptions of given surroundings. It is like being given new eyes. Even after the art has been reabsorbed into nature, the memory of it persists and informs one’s interaction with the landscape. It doesn’t demand visual literacy or education to be moved by the experience of a great land art piece. It is immediate, and enhances one’s own sense of being in the world. Land art engages in the much-needed integration of ‘culture’ and ‘nature’. Sometimes it is a celebration of the land that sustains us. Often it reminds us of the temporary nature of our shared existence.

Definition of water: Water is synonymous with life – it is not possible to survive without it.

Definition of climate change: Climate Change is the major, overriding environmental issue of our time, and the single greatest challenge facing environmental regulators. It is a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food production, security, and other dimensions.

Never before was it more necessary to appreciate and protect our water resources through action and intent. Never before was it more necessary that people join hands and work together in all walks of life, joining all disciplines together.

This project is part of JMAC’s efforts to encourage and promote a land art culture which is still relatively un-explored in the Namibian contemporary art scene, although the norm internationally.