Artworks Survive Nagn Flooding

THE lower gallery of the National Art Gallery of Namibia was flooded last Thursday, 15 May around lunch time after a water pipe burst on the sidewalk in John Meinert Street.

The water entered the gallery through the foundation of a storeroom which is on the basement of the gallery.

In a statement to the press, the NAGN said that upon noticing that a pipe had burst close to the entrance on John Meinert Street, the staff alerted the City of Windhoek to stop the flow. It was however soon discovered that some of the water managed to get into the lower gallery and so it became flooded. The fire brigade couldn’t assist due to the low level of the water, but NAGN staff members were however quick to respond to the crisis at hand and through teamwork managed to get most of the water out of the flooded exhibition space using buckets and vacuum cleaners.

Due to a lack of storage space, some artworks from the ‘Art Inside’ exhibition, which still needed to be distributed to the different ministries, were being kept in the storeroom were most affected by the flood. The NAGN curatorial department noted that out of 22 stored artworks, seven artworks were damaged in the flood, of which three were severely damaged, requiring restoration.

“The lack of proper storage has been a serious concern which the NAGN has been trying to resolve with the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport amp Culture and the Ministry of Works and Transport,” Director of the NAGN, Hercules Viljoen, said.

Senior Curator Luness Mpunwa said a condition report will be compiled on each of the damaged artworks to determine the level of damage.

Viljoen expressed sincere appreciation to the staff members of the NAGN and the Arts Association Heritage Trust, who responded swiftly and efficiently to remove artworks from the affected areas. He also said that appropriate action to restore damaged artwork will be determined after condition reports have been received from the NAGN’s curators.

Viljoen added that despite repairs to the pipes still being done, the situation is under control. He also said that the NAGN had to acquire the services of a private plumbing company after the Ministry of Works and Transport failed to respond to their report of the burst pipe.

The total cost of the damage is not known at this time, but the NAGN is happy to report that no damage came to any artworks in the 20132014 Annual Visual Arts Museum Programme exhibition, which was on display in the lower gallery at the time of the flooding.

None of the artworks from the two permanent collections housed at the gallery were compromised by the flooding. The water pipes were still being repaired by noon yesterday.

Source : The Namibian