StArt Art Gallery @ African Galleries Now

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StArt Art Gallery @ African Galleries Now 30 March - 18 April 2022

Virtual Art Fair - AAGA x Artsy.net


StArt Art Gallery @ African Galleries Now StArt Art Gallery is pleased to present the work of Ismael Shivute, Elisia Nghidishange, Nicky Marais and Arno Hoth at the third edition of the African Galleries Now online art fair, a collaboration between the African Art Galleries Association and Artsy. Working across a variety of mediums, these artists share an evocative use of abstraction and symbolism. Each artist creates a visual vocabulary of their own, layering carefully choses symbols with distinctive mark making to imbue their artworks with rich narratives. Elisia Nghidishange’s sculptures are humanoid in form, created with a combination of rigid steel armatures and sinuously woven fabric. Ismael Shivute’s soapstone sculptures are carved intuitively by hand following the natural contours of the stone. Nicky Marais’ large paintings on canvas connect to a broader body of work through which she gathers significant forms and explores the relationship between physicality and spirituality. Arno Hoth falls into a subconscious contemplation of emotion, colour and form in the process of making his digital paintings which he describes as stemming from generational knowledge and history.

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Nicky Marais (b. 1962) is a Namibian artist, educator and activist who lives and works in Windhoek. Marais is well-known for her abstract artworks created using a personal vocabulary of abstract forms and colour relationships derived from everyday life as well as the socio-political history of Namibia and icons from around the continent. These forms are often layered using a mixture of stencils and traditional painting techniques. Marais describes her practice as a “constant hunt for significant shapes”, which are subjected to a process of near-obsessive repetition, appearing multiple times in different combinations. Much of her work explores the relationship between physical and spiritual worlds, which extends into an investigation of the relationship between the tangible and the intangible, the signifier and the signified. For this latest series of artworks Marais has worked consciously with “the concept of stacking, the way things pile up and form layers and layers, the way that events, objects, ideas, even vacuums follow each other and create new forms and spaces over each other.”

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No Reason or Rhyme, Nicky Marais, 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 1000 x 1000mm

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So Close, Nicky Marais, 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 1020 x 1270mm

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Elisia’s Pink Welding Helmet, Nicky Marais, 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 1600 x 1600mm

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Stacked Portals, Nicky Marais, 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 1600 x 1600mm

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Elisia Nghidishange (b. 1981) was born in Eenhana in northern Namibia. This printmaker, sculptor and mixed media artist graduated from the College of the Arts in Windhoek in 2016. Nghidishange has taken part in various group exhibitions locally, and in 2017 she opened her first solo exhibition titled ‘The Cost of Wealth’ at the Goethe-Institut, Windhoek. Her second solo exhibition ‘The insight of intrusive women’ followed in 2020 at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. Of her artistic process, Nghidishange explains, “I have always used and been inspired by the materials that have been part of my life since childhood.” Working with motifs drawing from the human figure, cow horns, and ostrich eggshell beads, Nghidishange’s work also explores relationships between the pursuit of wealth and the place of tradition in a contemporary and cosmopolitan society, and between gender and tradition in this context.

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Alms Woman, Elisia Nghidishange, 2022, Mixed media: fabric, round bar, plaster of paris and paint, 1030 x 300 x 230mm

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Hope, Elisia Nghidishange, 2022, Mixed media: fabric, round bar and plaster of paris, 1130 x 300 x 880mm

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Red Egg, Elisia Nghidishange, 2022, Mixed media: fabric, round bar, plaster of paris and paint, 660 x 150 x 120mm

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Persistent, Elisia Nghidishange, 2022, Mixed media: fabric, round bar, plaster of paris and paint, 990 x 230 x 290mm

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Arno Hoth (b. 1950) creates digital artworks using new media technology. Born in Windhoek, Namibia, he attended Kunstschule Strahn in Germany from 1974 – 1977. The artist describes his process of painting as a game of “ping pong” and explains that he is in “dialogue” with the artwork. “In the end, it is an endless circle of repetition and invention”. With a background in oil painting followed by exploration into new media technologies and digital painting, Arno Hoth’s work is layered with colour, mark making, shapes and patterns to create his dynamic surfaces. While his technique comes from a conscious grasp of art making, the artist approaches his work as a way to “give the subconscious a platform”. Hoth explains “We tumble between our consciousness (work for income, rent, family needs etc.) and our subconsciousness that roots way back in our past generations and is passed on with every new family member.” The painter often describes an alternate realm that he taps into when painting, from which the colours, forms and titles for his works emerge based on the melding of his conscious and subconscious experience.

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Beyond the Horizon, Arno Hoth, 2022, Digital painting printed on 100% cotton fine art paper, 1/50, 450 x 600mm (paper dimensions), 405 x 540mm (print dimensions)

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So far from the mountain - so close to the sea, Arno Hoth, 2022, Digital painting printed on 100% cotton fine art paper, 1/50, 450 x 600mm (paper dimensions), 405 x 540mm (print dimensions)

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When the ships come in, Arno Hoth, 2022, Digital painting printed on 100% cotton fine art paper, 1/50, 450 x 600mm (paper dimensions), 405 x 540mm (print dimensions)

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Watching me watching you, Arno Hoth, 2022, Digital painting printed on 100% cotton fine art paper, 1/50, 450 x 600mm (paper dimensions), 378 x 540mm (print dimensions)

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Ismael Shivute (b. 1988) has participated in many group exhibitions locally and internationally, and had a solo exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in 2016. In 2022 Shivute will be holding his second solo exhibition in Windhoek. He says, “As an artist I am only inspired by my environment, recycled or used materials and the feel of things made by hand… I feel that my art reflects a unique Namibian identity, as well as my own identity”. In recent years Shivute’s practice has expanded to include craves soapstone which is sourced locally from quarries on the outskirts of Windhoek. The stone provides the right balance of resistance and pliability — the artist says that each stone suggests its ideal form to him in the process of making. Shivute works with abstract forms and ideas, creating philosophical sculptures that hold together feelings of harmony and calm in the face of challenge.

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Rusticity, Ismael Shivute, 2022, Soapstone, 460 x 280 x 150mm

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Composite figure, Ismael Shivute, 2022, Soapstone, 500 x 250 x 160mm

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Sour Crop, 2022, Ismael Shivute, Soapstone, 640 x 300 x 300mm

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Anthill, Ismael Shivute, 2022, Soapstone, 550 x 245 x 170mm

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StArt Art Gallery was established in 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia with a view to create a supportive environment for contemporary artists, exposing their work to a wider local and international audience. StArt Art Gallery was founded by Helen Harris and Gina Figueira, whose approach to curation is influenced by their backgrounds in sculpture and art history. Since 2017 StArt Art Gallery has held a dynamic programme of exhibitions at the former premises as well as at the Goethe-Institut, the National Art Gallery of Namibia and various pop-up locations. From 2019 to 2021 StArt Art Gallery functioned primarily as an online gallery with a strong focus on generating a meaningful record of contemporary art from Namibia. We work with a mixed pool of artists who are emerging, mid-career and well established. These artists work across a variety of media, including painting, textiles, sculpture, printmaking and photography. StArt Art Gallery chooses to work with artists who are constantly engaging with and pushing their creative practice in order to further develop their concepts and techniques. In 2022 the gallery is poised to return to a more permanent physical location. www.startartgallery.com info@startartgallery.com 23