2022 Baker’s Bay Artists’ Retreat – Group Show

Namibian Arts Association, Windhoek, Namibia
02 Mar 2023 - 24 Mar 2023

John Kalunda at work, 2022. Courtesy of StArt Art Gallery

John Kalunda at work, 2022. Courtesy of StArt Art Gallery

StArt Art Gallery announces the second iteration of the 2022 Baker’s Bay Artists’ Retreat Exhibition. This exhibition opens officially at 18h30 on 2 March 2023 at the Namibian Arts Association, Windhoek. Additionally there will be an Art Talk with participating artists on Friday 17 March at 18h00. The launch, art talk and the exhibition are open to all. The first iteration was held in Oranjemund between 15 and 24 October 2022.

From 1 – 14 October 2022, 13 artists attended an Artists’ Retreat at Baker’s Bay in the Tsau //Khaeb National Park (former Sperrgebiet) in the remote south-western corner of Namibia. These artists work in a variety of media and specialties which influenced their unique responses to the experience of the retreat and environment they were immersed in. The artists are Hercules Viljoen, Kambezunda Ngavee, Isai Alfeus, Wayne Goliath, Rachel Sakeus, Elisia Nghidishange, Ismael Shivute, John Kalunda, Nicky Marais, Maria Mbereshu, Ann Mary Gollifer, Mia Nel, and Jakobina Nashikwele Gideon.

All artists lived and worked in the former, abandoned mining village of Baker’s Bay for 10 days. This remote environment meant that the retreat offered a chance for the artists to pursue their creative practice in an uninterrupted, dedicated manner. Artists used this opportunity to learn from each other and be inspired by the incredibly unique environment and its social history.
The result is an exceptional exhibition of artworks that vary in style, medium and content, but share the same set of distinctive conditions that formed them. The exhibition includes photographs, prints, paintings and mixed media sculptures. Many artworks celebrate the unique biodiversity of the area, from Wayne Goliath’s monotype and linoleum print The Lone Ranger to Isai Alfeus’ mixed media artwork Save Jackals. Other artworks like Jakobina Gideon’s painting Wonders around me, Ismael Shivute’s sculptures Cave No 1 – 4 and Maria Mbereshu’s textile Pebbles highlight the natural beauty of the Tsau //Khaeb National Park and surroundings. The unique experience of visiting abandoned towns in the former Sperrgebiet like Baker’s Bay and Bogenfels can be seen in many of the artists’ works. Mia Nel’s Bogenfels Pink House, John Kalunda’s Baker’s Filling Station, Day I – Bakers Bay by Ann Gollifer, and Nicky Marais’ Red House all reflect on the social history and signs of abandonment in the empty and dilapidated buildings and structures.

Rachel Sakeus’ photographs and Hercules Viljoen’s paintings such as Sentry focus on the structures of these former mining areas that pertain to their original function of diamond mining, and the strict security measures that surrounded them. The Latest Explorers by Elisia Nghidishange is a mixed media sculpture made by the artist after she observed her co-participants on the retreat encountering this new environment. This group of artists were indeed The Latest Explorers in a terrain that has so much interest and intrigue, largely due to its’ restricted access over the last century.