Ghetto Soldiers at the Art Gallery

‘Tattoos’ one of the paintings that is on display at the National Art Gallery of Namibia under the ‘Ghetto Reloaded Exhibition’. The painting portrays the endurance of a street kid despite living in a difficult environment. (Photograph by Melba Chipepo).The seeds sown earlier by Joseph ‘Papa’ Shikongeni, have now produced fruits in ‘Ghetto Soldiers Reloaded’, an exhibition that opened at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) this week. Upon entering the gallery one is greeted with tales of the ‘Kasi’ in full colour and such vibrancy that the paintings immediately spread a smile across one’s face.
The artists Lox, Dix and Jero, all former students from the John Mufangejo Art Centre (JMAC), have incorporated an interesting combination of techniques, including spray paint and acrylic paint on canvas,card board printing, ink and pen illustrations and oil paintings into a body of work that is stylistic, detailed and vibrant. The title of the exhibition tells stories of the constant battle for survival in the ghetto, the struggle to make something of yourself when circumstances are hard. The stories reflect on the lives of the street kids, how the kids are true soldiers, how resourceful they are and quick on their feet. They can go for many days without food and their instinct for survival is a source of inspiration and admiration for the artists.