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Glee in the face of adversity

2022-09-16  Maria Haipinge

Glee in the face of adversity

Elisia Nghidishange brings rays of peace and joy this spring through her fourth solo exhibition ‘Ehafo’.

‘Ehafo’ is an Oshiwambo word that translates to ‘joy’.

“In my language, they say ‘Ehafo olapumba’, which means it is hard to find happiness or joy. Looking at what the world is going through now, it’s really getting hard for people to be at peace,” said Nghidishange.

Consisting primarily of sculptures and prints, ‘Ehafo’ is presented at the Namibian Arts Association in collaboration with StArt Art Gallery. It opened on 13 September, and will run until 7 October.

Nghidishange told VIBEZ! that she decided on the title for the exhibition because she wanted to react to the situation that the world is experiencing now with positivity, and to promote the joy that everyone needs.

She explained that ‘Ehafo’ was formed after a constructive destruction performance she hosted last year called ‘Fixed and Broken’.  In that performance, she paid homage to the artworks she had created throughout the year, before watching them get cut up and destroyed in a practice of letting go and creating space.

Nghidishange’s journey in the world of art started at a young age, but only set out into professional practice in 2017 after graduating from the College of the Arts.

She creates mixed media sculptures using mostly materials such as metal, fabric, paint, plaster of Paris and silicon. Nghidishange also does printmaking on linoleum.

“I do art because it is what I love. I can’t imagine myself doing other things that I do not enjoy. I find this specific art interesting and easy, and it gives me the freedom to express myself,” she explained. 

Through her art, Nghidishange portrays different aspects of traditional and contemporary situations, using materials that she can manipulate to give the artwork conceptual meaning while expressing her deep spiritual feelings, and enjoying the unexpected beauty of every outcome.

“The first exhibition titled ‘The Insight of Intrusive Women’ in 2017 was inspired by the obsession of people with wealth; the second exhibition (‘The Change of Eendume Movakwahepo Shendjeni’ - 2019) by the behaviour specific to an extended family member; and the third (The Cost of Wealth’ - 2020), by the role of a woman within society.”

“I encourage everyone to go and view the exhibition before it closes. Exhibitions come only once in a while, and you don’t see the same body of works together anymore.”

Catch Nghidishange on 22 September at the NAA, where she will be working in the exhibition space, allowing visitors to witness her creative process in person. That same evening at 18h00, she will host a walkabout of the exhibition, giving the audience an opportunity to hear more about the works from the artist hersel-

2022-09-16  Maria Haipinge

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