Visual artist Pandeinge Shambwila believes that talent is being killed at face value, which is why a lot of artists are not being recognised.
Shambwila blamed this on a lack of cultural centres where artists can learn, work, exhibit and auction their materials, especially in northern Namibia, where she is based.
Some navigate past this obstacle through the use of the internet to sell their artwork which, according to her, is costly.
“It’s hard enough to get our artworks in public galleries, which can even take years after applying for an exhibition. Private galleries are extra picky too, and can’t, understandably, accommodate a lot of us,” she told Youth Corner.
She emphasised that the government is lagging behind in empowering creatives, as there’s no centred approach from the government when it comes to culture and art. Shambwila thus looks forward to one day opening an artworks centre in the north, which would serve as an opportunity for Namibian artists to showcase their talent and sell their artwork.
If blessed with a sponsorship to open such a centre, she is eager to stretch it to house dancers, designers and singers.
Now 32, Shambwila has been painting since she was eight years old, and started with sketching and drawing on paper.
“My theme consists of a lot of wildlife and the Namibian heritage, cultural and traditional set-ups or make-ups. My focus surrounds the Himba, Aawambo and San cultures, which I would deeply study before executing. These artworks are mostly bought by older clients, tourists and traditional enthusiasts, but I also try to keep my art modern” said Shambwila, who now lives in Ongwediva since 2020 after she got retrenched from her work in Windhoek.
She also does commissioned work such as painting cartoons in children’s rooms, graffiti and murals in bars, barbershops, schools, saloons and other small businesses.
The ambitious woman is honoured to have represented Namibia in Berlin, Germany in 2020 in a group exhibition of about 20 black international artists, which served as her first international event. She is eager to market her talent internationally in many other countries.
She had two other invites to exhibit in France and Portugal in 2020, but these were unfortunately cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19 at the time.
The mother of one son urged the public, particularly her fellow youth, to try their best in whatever they are doing with an earnest effort.
“Form a relationship with God. Put God first in everything you do, talk to him, pray to him about it, for God will make a way where there seems to be no way, always. If you know you are passionate about something, give it your all, one day it will all work out.”
The painter thus calls on other painters to acknowledge that art is a gift, and they must appreciate it. Borrowing from French novelist, journalist and playwright Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola, she said “An artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work”.