Tag Archives: Namib

Goldgräberstimmung (Gold-rush Mood) Upcoming Exhibition

Whoohoo – It’s exhibition time… please save the date! Book a ticket and come to Berlin!

My next solo exhibition “Goldgräberstimmung” will be on show in Germany’s capital, Berlin, on Saturday, the 16th of June (17h30) at the Grafik Studio Galerie Neumann. Jens Garling will give a brief introduction to the works.

On show will be a small selection of land art works and public art actions (in form of photographic and video documentation) which I have created in April12 in the Namib Desert and some mixed media works.

Goldgräberstimmung/Gold-rush Mood by Imke Rust

Goldgräberstimmung/Gold-rush Mood – an exhibition by Imke Rust

About the works: “Imke Rust uses her art to draw attention to the human exploitation and destruction of the Namib desert. The works are loosely based on ancient shamanic traditions and symbols, while the artist worked in and with nature, in order to establish a more direct connection between humans, nature, art and the spiritual world. The Namibian-German artist will show video, photography and mixed media works.”

The exhibition can be viewed until the 16th of July.

Opening times of the gallery:
Mon – Tues: 10h00 – 17h00, Wed: 9h00 – 14h00,
Thur 12h00 – 18h00 and Fri 9h00 – 13h00
If you would like to view the exhibition after hours or on weekends you can make an appointment with me via email:  imkerust(at)iway.na

Please feel free to invite your friends along and also to purchase some of my works.

I hope to see you there!

Artworks shown on the invitation:

SubRosa (Under the Rose)
Temporary installation in the Namib Desert Dune belt south of Swakopmund.
22° 43’ 01” S – 14° 33’ 47” E
Original dimensions: 90 x 270 x270cm
99 roses made of black rubbish bags, barbed wire, wire
April 2012 ©Imke Rust


Toxic Rocks
Temporary installation at the “Black Rocks” close to Wlotzkasbaken, Namib Desert.
22° 25’ 55” S – 14° 27’ 42” E
Approximate original dimensions: 200 x 2500 x 2000 cm
Rocks wrapped in neo colored tulle
April 2012 ©Imke Rust

If you like my art, please  join my Facebook Artist Page .

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

Hand-coloured Photographs Making a Powerful Statement

Chemical Reaction (Namib Desert) © Imke Rust

Chemical Reaction (Namib Desert) © Imke Rust

Recently I have invited you all to come to an exhibition of a selection of photographs which were submitted to the “Our Coast Your Photo” Competition, which was on show in Windhoek and Swakopmund.

Initially I was informed that I was one of the finalists, but then at the opening it turned out that the judges did not think that hand-coloured photographs are photographs but are art, and therefore my works were not considered for the actual prizes.  A detailed discussion of this decision would be interesting, considering that hand-colouring photographs is a technique used in photography for almost as long as we have photography itself, but maybe I leave that for another time or for the comments.

For now, I am happy to say that the organizers did think that my work still deserved a “special mention for making a powerful statement. … Rust managed to convey a message of “pretty promises” made by industrialists that paint a pretty picture, while the result would actually be unnatural – and even detrimental to the environment.” (quoted from The Namibian, 2 April 2012, pg7). The special mention came with a small financial prize and a bottle of unpolluted Namibian sea water – which I thought was a very nice touch in line with the background of the exhibition. It might become a rarity soon, but I hope not!

Here are the works which I have submitted for those of you who were not able to see them in person.

Toxic Flow (Swakop River)  © Imke Rust, Digital Photograph

Toxic Flow (Swakop River)
© Imke Rust, Digital Photograph

Toxic Waste (Moon Valley)  © Imke Rust

Toxic Waste (Moon Valley) © Imke Rust

About the works:

“My entries are hand-coloured photographs of  Swakopmund’s surrounding environment.

The idea came while I was in Berlin and was hearing about the planed chemical works that might be built near Swakopmund.  I looked at my photographs of Swakopmund and its surrounding area which I took earlier in the year and wondered what it will look like should the chemical plant be build with all its toxic waste and side effects. I also thought of the “pretty promises” that are made of all the wonderful things (like job creation) such developments would bring Namibians. What at first glance might look pretty and interesting might turn out to be really dangerous, and we are not really aware of how far-reaching the negative effects might be. The colourful interventions on the photographs, give a striking and ‘pretty’ effect, but also allude to the chemical and toxic interference with nature.

We are so used to see really good photographs of the Namibian environment and we often taken our environment for granted. That is why I decided to make some physical and ‘chemical’ interventions in bright and ‘unnatural’ acrylic (plastic) colours to the photographs. I hope this artificial, tampered view, makes people sit up and notice and think about what they are seeing and want to see.”

The exhibition is still up in Swakopmund at “The Art Gallery” in the Brauhaus Arcade till the end of April. According to that gallery it is one of their most visited exhibitions to date. So, if you are in Swakopmund, do take some time to go and see all the finalists work (and mine 😉 ) if you enjoy photography, art and our beautiful coast!

Oh, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject:  is photography art and is art photography? Should a hand-coloured photograph be judged differently than a photoshopped one, or an 100% untouched one? Let me know what you think…