Papa Shikongeni Shares Commonwealth Experience

THE talented artist and musician Papa Shikongeni has returned from his trip to Scotland where he represented Namibia at an arts show organised for the Commonwealth Games.

His work was exhibited at the Lillie Art Gallery in Glasgow, alongside other established Namibian artists including the late John Muafengejo.

In this space, Shikongeni also led a series of workshops, teaching traditional cardboard printing techniques to the Scottish people.

“It was a challenge because the ink was not the same and the cardboard was not the same,” said Shikongeni, “but we made it work.”

The workshops were heavily attended by elderly Glaswegians, mainly over the age of 60. “It was good to see,” said Shikongeni, “our Namibian elders should try to keep busy with their hands too.”

During the busy trip, Shikongeni also visited Greenview Learning Centre in Glasgow, a school for pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties where he taught a class on traditional mono printing with glass, which he says was well received.

Exposure to the Scottish art curriculum and communication with the directors of education there cast a harsh light on what Shikongeni sees within Namibian schools. “They had art exhibitions there, for the school kids. But this isn’t happening here. Art must become our children’s daily food, not something they do only now and then.”

Collaborating with a screen printing studio in Glasgow, Shikongeni has also established a cultural exchange programme for artists at the John Muafengejo studio. These Namibian artists will now be able to take periods of residency at the Scottish studio, honing their craft.

Looking back on the work accomplished during the trip, Shikongeni is thrilled. “It is massive to leave the footprint of Namibia behind.”

Source : The Namibian

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