I realised that I have never put up my mixed media artworks from my land art project on my webpage…
So let me share some of the works and the thoughts behind them with you today!
This artwork is called ‘What will be left’
All currently awarded mining licences were cut out from a tourist map, to make the actual impact visible. Not all licenses will be used immediately or at all, but companies would not pay for such licenses if they did not have the intention of using it sooner or later. Also many of the areas are awarded more than once, for instance for diamonds and for nuclear fuels at the same time.
(This information can be found on the webpage of the Ministry of Mines & Energy of Namibia).
From photographs which I took of the Namib desert I cut out an ‘open-pit mine’.
Most of the Namib desert is sliced up into different concession areas for mining purposes, awarded by the government to interested parties, very often foreign companies. Once again I used my photographs and imagined what it would look like, if we could see these areas while we are in the desert.
There is a pretty famous old photograph of the Herero Chief Samuel Maharero and Governor Leutwein. Samuel Maharero has sold off much of the land of his people to the Germans for very cheap in return for being helped to fight the Herero people who did not accept him as chief.
I used this photograph as a reference and drew the people into a modern-day setting (an interior from a magazine) as I imagine similar dubious and far-reaching deals are happening still today, especially in awarding mining concessions.
The problem with selling off our countries resources in such a big way, is that we will never be able to get them back. Once they are depleted, they are gone forever and we are left with big scars in the earth and probably a lot of pollution.
Or: Not everything that shines is gold…
I guess only Namibians will understand this work immediately. The Welwitschia is a unique plant found in the Namib desert. An abstract representation has been used as decoration for the statehouse’s fence. The golden Welwitschia decoration is made by North-Koreans and it is not cast in metal, but in plastic. The statehouse has been the source of much dispute, since it was build mostly by foreigners and at a huge cost to the nation. The lavishness and pomp and huge expense feels like a laugh in the face of all the Namibian people who are living in real poverty with no roofs over their head.
Also, the Welwitschia is a special ancient, protected plant found in the desert and just like the minerals, metals and nuclear fuels which can be found here, I feel that our government would sell it off to some foreign investor without further thought, if they were offered the faintest promise of getting rich quick.
If you would like to see some more works from this project, please visit this LINK.