The life and times of one of Namibia’s most celebrated visual artist’s, the late John Muafangejo is being brought to live at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) next month.
The play “I am John” is a compelling story celebrating his life, his struggles and his collection of works which turned him into one of the most influential artists of his time, and will run over three nights in October, 10-12. What has been described as a full scale musical production is directed by the iconic Sandy Rudd who has been joined by musical director and ‘song bird’ Lize Ehlers, who says that this is a proudly Namibian product with 99 percent of the songs sung in Oshiwambo.
The production is made up of 20 cast members including seven dancers, the “lino-man”, a narrator, five musicians, plus a 90-piece St George’s School Choir.
This one-of-a-kind production on Muafangejo, is being choreographed by Haymich Olivier and Justina Andreas with costumes and props designed by Deon Mathias.
Rehearsals for this much anticipated musical is going full steam ahead, with the unfolding story of Muafangejo’s early childhood being told in his mother tongue, which takes the audience right through to his days as a famed artist which gained him international recognition.
The production has been tenderly and explicitly portrayed in what is said to be the biggest production of its kind on the man. This is also one of Rudd’s flagship projects, which she has been cultivating for many years.
Muafangejo was born on October 5, 1943 in Etunda lo Nghadi, Angola, and died on November 27, 1987 in Katutura, Windhoek. He sadly did not live to see Namibia gain its independence, but lived through the struggle for independence, which influenced many of his works, as he still today remains one of Africa’s best loved artists. His work powerfully depicting people and events expressed in black and white imagery – often combine text with images and contain references to the history and culture of Namibia.
Through his life experiences, living on the border between Namibia and Angola, Muafangejo used the medium of the linocut to address the region’s history of conflict and the daily tribulations and aspirations of his people.
His linocuts take the forms and scenes of everyday life from people in both rural and urban environments which were around him.
One of his most renowned prints, Hope and Optimism, in spite of the surrounding strife, became recognised internationally as Muafangejo’s message of symbolising the hope and optimism, which inspired many artists and projects around the world.
Muafangejo began exhibiting his works internationally as early as 1968, with three rooms devoted to him in the National Art Gallery of Namibia.
New Era Reporter
2018-09-28 10:17:09 11 months ago