Category Archives: Stuff I have seen

Impressions from my visit to Dnipropetrovsk

The poster announcing our event.

The poster announcing our event.

Dnipropetrovsk. I practiced very long and often to say it correctly and still I stumble over it. Since November last year, when Artsvit Gallery‘s curator, Ms Iryna Polikarchuk, approached me with the idea to visit this beautiful city and share my art and curatorial approach with them, Dnipropetrovsk has been a phrase set on repeat in my head.

Lots of planning and ideas were sent between us, until I finally could board the plane and fly to the Ukraine again, on the invitation of the Artsvit Gallery and the German Consulate in Donesk, who are currently located in Dnipropetrovsk. On the first evening I was joined by a wonderful and inspirational colleagues Ms Sabina Shikilinskaya (Azerbaijan) and Nikita Shalenny (Ukraine) for an introduction on our art and curatorial practice and public discussion afterwards. Additionally the visiting artists each had one evening to give an in-depth presentation about our art. All three events were received by much public interest and a packed audience.

During the days we also had a full program, organized by the gallery. Another main part of my visit was to meet with the German General Consul, Mr Mössinger and representatives of the city and gallery, to finalize details for a public installation of my art planned to be installed in a park in Dnipropetrovsk later this year. I am very exited about these plans, but will share more with you about this, closer to the time.

Following is a selection of impressions from my visit. I hope you enjoy them. (Click on the images to see a larger view and description.)


Sensational Find: Rock Art on German Streets

Who would have thought that Germany has so many unnoticed, secret treasures? So far I have only seen the rock paintings and engravings in secluded rocky mountains in Namibia. So this is a first for me…

I was so excited to find well-preserved rock art right under my bicycle’s wheels!

It seems these amazing petrographs (Images drawn or painted on rock face) tell stories of a life long past, of strange animals that have walked this part of the earth and the humans that have shared their existence.

These very expressive, graphic pictograms reveal a great craftmanship, fluid line control and the ability to paint the soul of the being with only a few lines. But what do they represent? Why have these images of animals and humans been drawn right here on these cycling paths?

Since we know that some of the animals represented in these petrographs, like the Decimpedi dinosaur (a longish dinosaur with 10 legs), have long died out, we can assume that these images are really, really ancient.

And by the way, this is not my own art, just something I found and thought interesting enough to share with you!

Click on the images to see a detailed larger view.

(Found close to Ahrenshoop in August 2015)

An Artist’s Life

Many exciting new things are happening in my life and I did not have much time to write for my blog. Today I thought of sharing a few pictures from my life with you, to give you an impression of what has been happening. That is, the fun stuff, which happened between all the admin work that took up most of my time.

First, as it is becoming warmer, I decided to prepare one of the outside rooms as a temporary summer studio, so that I can paint again on bigger canvasses, be messy and not mind paint splatter on the floor and allow space for offering workshops.

Those who have followed me for a while, know that I moved to a small village close to the forest, with a garden and an outbuilding and garage, which we want to turn into a wonderful, light and spacious studio. Unfortunately we discovered that we first need to get a new roof, as the old one is leaking beyond repair. So it may take a while, for our/my dream to come true. But the temporary studio will work fine for the warmer months for a while.

I have also been lucky to have received a second-hand drawing cabinet and large drawing table as a gift, which I am so grateful for.

Studio pics:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

Yes, there was also time for making art. And I have noticed something odd happening in my life, kind of like a deja vu, just different. Similar kind of circumstances, situations or images appearing two or three times in a short period, without any relations between them. Only that I see them connected because they are so similar and unique in a way. I am feeling, wow, I just saw the exact same situation in a different way yesterday. I guess this means something, just not sure what. Let me explain it with an example concerning my art.

Recently I saw an image on the Internet of an adult woman sitting on a small children’s rocking horse. I liked it for its weirdness, and saved it as inspiration to draw from later. During the open studio event, I met the wood-carving artist Bodo Henke. One of his small sculptures was really adorable, so I decided to buy it – a horse with a rider, who is much too large for the horse…

When I came home, I realised the similarity to the image I had found in the internet. So I decided to actually start drawing my version of the lady on her rocking-horse. To me my painting looked more like a horse on a carousel. I decided to add white stripes and turn the horse into a Zebra, to express my connection to Africa and it just looked more exciting.

Yesterday, at the harbour festival, I saw an exquisite, antique, mini carousel for children. To my amazement, the riding figures on it actually were Zebras!

(Click on the images to see them in full.)


In between admin and other work, I also really take great pleasure in experiencing the spring for the first time in our own garden. I love to watch all the sprouting and blooming, and revel in the shapes and colours. Here are some impressions:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)


With the spring weather and more sun, I have also felt much more like getting out and do things. We have been to visit several artists in the region during an open studio day, watched the aeroplanes land and take-off from the side of a highway during sun-downers (a Namibian habit of celebrating the sun going down with a drink and good company) and briefly visited the harbour festival in Oranienburg. Here are some pics:

I wish you an awesome, happy and creative week ahead!

PS. if you missed my previous post, please have a look for the exciting announcements of our up-coming film debut in Berlin.



Wild Sky

Cloud, collected and documented by Imke Rust

Cloud, collected and documented by Imke Rust

Remember the days during childhood, when we looked up at the clouds in the sky and imagined their shapes to represent all kinds of things?

Well, part of my life’s mission in the recent months was to reignite the lightness and playfulness of childhood in my life. I guess I cannot help it, I play best by being creative.

As part of my rainmaking experiments and research, I have been collecting clouds by photographing and documenting them. I have some great ideas for these photographs, but somehow, like so many of my ideas and projects, they have not yet found their way out into the world.

I find this frustrating, because I have so much fun working on different projects and I enjoy sharing them, because I know that many of my wors or projects are inspiring, intruiging or interesting for others.

When I was looking at the pictures of the collected clouds some time ago, I started seeing some figures in them and decided to take a moment to play the old childhood game. Instead of just imagining the animals and figures on my documented clouds, I decided to draw them onto the photographs in Photoshop. Those are the advantages of being an adult and having all these wonderful technical equipment and programs!

I had so much fun, that I spent quite a bit of time making more and more. As so often, also these fun images were saved in a folder on my computer and almost forgotten.

Maybe one day, the right time will come and I can present these projects in their full glory, printed, framed and exhibited in a cool venue… 🙂 Maybe a gallery or curator will invite me to show one or the other project.

Just, how will anybody know about all the wonderful things I have buried somewhere in a folder on my computer or in my studio, I wondered? If they have never seen them or read about them, they cannot possibly know.

Instead of storing and hiding my art and projects, I decided to try to get them up onto my webpage and out into the world. At least that way they people can see them and hopefully find inspiration or joy in them, no matter if I ever find a way to exhibit them in a proper space close to you.

So, here you go, I share my Wild Sky Cloud Creatures with you.

They are not my most important or serious project, by far, but I enjoyed working on them.

I hope that you might feel inspired to stop for a moment, remember your carefree moments as a child, look at the sky and marvel at the offerings it has for you!

Please click on the circles to see the full image.

You can see more works of this series HERE.

Connecting the Dots

I am on a mission to connect the dots of my life to finally figure out some important things. As part of that, and for some fun learning, I enrolled into an exciting course learning about totem animals and how they can help and guide us in our lives.

The course gives so much food for thought. Even though I initially I enrolled in the hope of ‘just some creative fun’ to add spice to my serious soul search for deeper answers, the course has completely drawn me in and provided such a lot of serious and exciting insights.

Between happily jumping into the fun world of the animals and wonderful kindred human souls who are part of the course or tribe and drawing back in resistance to so many different issues, I have managed to delve deep and hold on to this crazy ride.

I am trying to really let myself go with the flow and allow things to happen. And that is what I want to tell you about.

Black Leopard Sleeping

Black Leopard. Sleeping

Ok, so my main foundational totem is the black leopard. I guess I need to write much more about that at another time, but now I am onto something very different and more immediate. I had been thinking about how the leopard pulls its prey into a tree, to keep it safe from other bigger predators. Two other totem animals of mine move into trees (or live there) for safety.

Then it struck me, that I had a vision about myself as a tree two days ago and because it was so striking I made a small painting in my sketchbook about it.

I felt as if I was a tree growing from the top downwards, with the bottom trunk and roots missing.

The tree could not bloom or produce leaves until those parts eventually grow and connect it with the earth and its nurturing soil and water, its hold and steadfastness. A place to be.

Floating Tree

Floating Tree (quick sketchbook drawing)

I took a photograph, in order to be able to share it or continue working on it in a digital format. When I downloaded it, I realised that there were still a whole bunch of other older photographs I have taken, but not downloaded yet…

Interestingly they were mostly of trees – treetops in the mist and a wire baobab tree that we got as a gift for our wedding. And of the bottom of my coffee cup, where the residue has left…. You guessed it: the shape of a tree floating in the air.

Coffee grounds tree

Coffee grounds in my mug:  can you see the floating tree?

Wire Baobab from Namibia

Wire Baobab Tree from Namibia – another photo found still on my camera

My favourite tree is the Baobab. So I looked up its symbolism. Its protective, nourishing and healing and can survive in harsh climates, because it stores water in its trunk. It is also a symbol of strength…

It is also known as the ‘upside-down tree’ – according to myth, the gods planted the tree upside-down in error.

Which reminded me of my initial version, of the tree growing from the top to the bottom and also about something I created just over a year ago, when I felt depressed and generally pretty lost:

Sometimes the world seems upside down

Sometimes the world seems upside down

These are so many dots connecting and I will have to ponder about the lessons that entails. So I decided to write it down. While writing, I thought I could just as well post it as a blog. I thought that this is probably a bit too spiritual and way-out for my main art blog and I decided to post it first on my Baobabs, Magic and Art blog.  And then it struck me that even the title of this blog adds another dot to connect to the mystical tree…

And it led me further to another poem and image, which I had made and posted on there in June last year:

trying to grow new roots

Trying to grow new roots
In a foreign land
With my feet on unfamiliar ground

Trying to become grounded
Return to the earth
And feel at home

Drawing strength
From below
From belonging

I have no roots

© Imke Rust

And hopefully I will eventually find or grow my roots so that this tree won’t be floating around in uncertainty anymore, but will find its place and grow into a big nurturing, protective, creative and healing tree. 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful start to the week!

Sleepy Eyes

Sleepy Eyes

Sleepy Eyes

rainy skies
sleepy eyes
over you
and me

(c) Imke Rust

I took this photograph on a rainy day just a few days before the great floods in Meissen, Germany. The Elbe, the river running through Meissen was already filling up more and more at that time… Now large parts of the old city center are under water.

So I am posting this thinking of all the people who are affected by the great floods in Germany at the moment.

Berlin Biennale – and what I assumed was art

Sometimes real life is more fascinating than art…

I have been visiting two of the five Berlin Biennale 2012 venues so far (and hope to see the rest in the next few days). From what I read about it, it sounded interesting with a big hype around its political agenda etc. . Honestly, I do hope the rest of the show is more exiting than what I have seen up to now (please note, that is just my very personal impression, based on my likes and preferences).

When searching for the Biennale display in the Akademie der Künste we got a bit lost and ended up on the wrong level. Not realising this, I got really excited when I peeked around one corner and saw, what I thought was the most brilliant political statement art installation at the Biennale so far:

Sleeping MP © Imke Rust

Sleeping MP © Imke Rust (Berlin Biennale 2012 / Akademie der Künste)

When I walked closer to get a full view, I realized that it was NOT an art installation, but a very tired Military Police guy… and his artful statement made the visit worth our while.

Encounters in the Namib

A bird puzzled by my artwork in the desert © Imke Rust

A bird puzzled by my artwork in the desert © Imke Rust (detailed view)

I have spent eight days in the beginning of April in the desert around the coastal town of Swakopmund to make artworks in nature. It is my way to raise awareness about the threats which our environment is facing. And it is my way of taking action. I believe that art is not only an aesthetic experience, but also a powerful and spiritual one. Just like the shamans and healers of the olden days have used drawings, symbols, rituals and objects to heal and change the vibrations of the current reality, I hope that my art can have a positive and healing influence.

The Namib Desert at the Atlantic coast in Namibia is currently under much threat, with uranium mines springing up and growing like fungi, huge chemical plants proposed to be built (who plan to get rid of their toxic waste in the Atlantic ocean) and even Phosphor mining plans on our shores. Not only these big obvious projects are threatening the desert and ocean, but also the thousands of people who mindlessly use the environment as their playground without consideration or awareness of the damage they are doing.

I am happy that more and more people are standing up and making their voices heard for saving our environment and there even being signs and actions from our government which gives us hope that they are not going to sell out our desert. I thought a lot about what I can do for my part, and decided that I stick to what I do best: art. Instead of painting posters against the ‘enemy’ I decided to do things pro nature, make artworks which symbolically protect the land from harm, bless it and celebrate its beauty, while at the same time raising awareness about the threats.

I am busy preparing the documentation of the works for my upcoming exhibition in June in Berlin and want to keep the artworks a surprise till then. Instead I will share with you pictures of some of the meetings we had during the eight days, in which we worked in the desert. Just to show you how alive the desert really is with creatures we often do not even notice. All of these and many, many more depend on our choices for their survival. And our own survival depends on a healthy and alive environment.

Horned Viper taking refuge in a shaded burrow

Horned Viper taking refuge in a shaded burrow

Although I have much time of my life in the desert, it is the first time that I personally spotted this highly poisonous small snake. A good reminder for me to tread carefully for my own protection and on the other hand I felt sadness, as she was living in an area where sand is mined and I guess it is only a matter of time, before she ends up being killed by the huge machines.

A  well camouflaged desert gecko

A well camouflaged desert gecko

Another gecko, not as fussed with camouflaging

Another gecko, not as fussed with camouflaging

A lizard who has lost its tail

A lizard who has lost its tail

A very friendly and inquisitive pregnant chameleon

A very friendly and inquisitive pregnant chameleon

A desert rabbit, sitting very still, in the hope that we do not see it...

A desert rabbit, sitting very still, in the hope that we do not see it…

A black scorpion

A black scorpion – very poisonous (you can tell from the large stingers and small fangs)

These are only some of the animals which we encountered while working in the desert, as I did not always have my camera ready….  I was so amazed to notice just how alive the desert really is.

Oh, and then while marveling at the horned viper, we also encountered some very noisy two-wheeled creatures:

Motorcycles and plastic bags in the desert

Motorcycles and plastic bags in the desert

I wonder how many of our small new friends they noticed? And how many of them survived the encounter?

If this matter is also close to your heart and you would like to show your support for the environment of the Namib Desert, especially around Swakopmund, please join the Facebook group Industrial Swakopmund – What Future do we Want?” and stay updated about the latest news and actions.

The art project was funded, in part, through a Grant by the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN),  the opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the NACN.LOGO NACN

The shoes you wear… and how they are connected to my art

The shoes you wear… and how they are connected to my art

Many years ago, back in my early student years, I had this really fun idea. Some found it a bit morbid, while others gave me worried looks… but I am used to that.

For some reason, I cannot remember exactly why, I chose to use shoes as my subject matter. Shoes as packaging of the human foot…. and packaging which eventually shapes its’ contents. Not being the biggest fan of high heeled shoes, I developed the idea of the high heeled shoe eventually shaping the foot, very similar to the old Chinese tradition of keeping women’s feet small and childlike, through tortuous means. (Ok, now I remember the reason…)

So this is how I imagined your foot would look like if you would continuously wear the common high heel shoe:

Sketch of horse-shaped foot

Sketch of horse-shaped foot by Imke Rust (c)

Different stages as documented in my sketchbook, eventually turning into a kind of horse-like hoof. (Mind you, horses are very elegant, so maybe nothing wrong with women striving to have feet like them?)

I even worked the idea into a life-size clay-sculpture (one of my first objects done in clay) based on one of the imaginary middle stages of the deformed foot:

Clay Foot side view (IRust)Clay Foot front view (IRust)

And now the reason why I dug up these old sketches and the sculpture for you and why I am writing about it in my blog today: Recently I found this in the newspaper:

The Namibian 18March11

found in The Namibian 18 March 2011

I always like it, if I find that somebody’s thoughts, somewhere in the world, are similar to mine. Isn’t it amazing? And often with a tiny little envy I wonder why their thoughts make it to the newspapers, great art shows or into designer shops with huge price tags, and mine don’t….?

And I know the answer: because my sketches stay safely tucked away in my piles of sketch books, my sculptures are catching dust on my windowsill and my personal confidence still needs a lot of nudging and pampering and support before I can truly believe in myself and take my ideas and art work to the next level. And I also know: the idea was cool, but far away from resolved, my sketches were fun, but not great and my sculpture was a beginner’s object, which got damaged before it could ever be shown… fortunately I have come a long way since that horse foot idea.

Besides: the designer horse shoe idea is cool – but honestly: have you ever seen somebody walking around in those? Or are you secretly wishing you could afford such silly designer hooves yourself? Or know anybody who does? Naaah – me neither, but I know quite a few wonderful people, wearing comfy, good-looking shoes, who have my art on their walls or at least know somebody who does. And hey – you are reading my blog and not theirs! Da! ;o)

Thank you for your support of my art and ideas! And if you enjoyed this post or if you like my art or ideas, please subscribe to my blog and please recommend it to your friends. It would make my day!

Kiddo & Shiwoohamba exhibit in Berlin

Works by Paul Kiddo

Works by Paul Kiddo

Barely in Berlin and already I had the pleasure to view an exhibition by two Namibian artists, Paul Kiddo & Elia Shiwoohamba. On top of that, I could witness some of the positive results of the ‘shared experiences’ project, which I have co-founded four years ago and co-managed till the end of 2010.

Both artists have been on a two-month ‘shared experiences’ artist residency in Berlin in 2010, all expenses paid. During this time they got to know the exciting city of Berlin and its lively art scene, created new artworks and were able to make many valuable contacts. One such contact happened almost by chance when Paul Kiddo walked into a small gallery in Rigaer Str (Friedrichshein) and got talking to the owners, Lars & Ingolf Neumann. Later also Elia Shiwoohamba presented his works to the gallery. And now, only a few months after this meeting, the Grafik Studio Galerie is presenting the exhibition: Paul Kiddo & Elia Shiwoohamba – Grafik und Malerei aus Namibia (11May -13 June 2011)

The tastefully curated exhibition shows numerous works of both artists in their respective signature styles. Paul charms the audiences with his naïve realism oil-paintings of Namibian landscapes, Kolmann’s Kop buildings, wild animals and the tongue-in-cheek homestead sceneries, while Elia, who works mainly in cardboard prints and lino cuts, uses people and Namibian animals as his subject matter, with many interesting renderings of owls.  The works are for sale at very reasonable prices (between 35€ and 420€).

If you are in Berlin anytime before the 13th of June, do plan in a visit to this exhibition. The gallery can easily be reached with the public transport system, situated only a short walking distance from the Frankfurter Alee S-Bahn Station.

What great achievement for these two artists! I hope you make it even more worthwhile by supporting them with your visit and hopefully by buying one (or more) of their works! Also a warm Namibian “Thank you” to Mr Neumann of the Grafik Studio Galerie, who made this exhibition possible and for promoting Namibian art in Berlin.