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Namibian art exhibition at The Lillie Art Gallery, Milngavie, was popular with visitors

John Riches is here with Namibias Minister of Culture Jerry Ekandjo and artist Ndasuunje Papa Shikongeni.

John Riches is here with Namibias Minister of Culture Jerry Ekandjo and artist Ndasuunje Papa Shikongeni.

People enjoyed getting to the ‘art’ of the Commonwealth Games recently when they visited an exhibition of work by artists from Namibia.

The chairman of Balmore Trust, John Riches, organised the colourful display at the Lillie Art Gallery in Milngavie to coincide with the Commonwealth Games baton coming to the area on July 19.

The Trust has a strong relationship with Namibia which was designated as one East Dunbartonshire’s ‘Second Teams’ - at the Commonwealth Games.

The renowned Namibian artist Papa Shikongeni visited East Dunbartonshire for a week, to meet people at the exhibition and hold workshops.

And the Namibian Minister of Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, the First Secretary of the Namibian High Commission, Berenice Dentlinger, the Hon South African Consul, Brian Filling, and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Committee, Ian Davidson, MP, and the Rt. Rev Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway also went along to the exhibition.

The Trust - which runs The Coach House in Balmore - supports projects in the west of Scotland, Africa and India with funding, support and advice.

They met Papa Shikongeni about eight years ago when they were in Namibia. He is a director of the John Muafangejo Art Centre and is a great promoter of art - particularly involving children in townships and villages.

Papa Shikongeni said: “Art has played a vital part in the development of Namibia since independence and many young people have found printmaking to be a powerful means of self-expression and a way to an international career.

“It is important for Namibia to develop a curriculum for the arts in schools and we are looking forward to working with East Dunbartonshire on this.”

John Riches said: “Since Independence, Namibians have developed a unique form of cardboard printing which has inspired many young artists to explore their cultural roots and to reflect on their own struggles for freedom and development. Namibia is unique in Africa in having such a vibrant visual arts scene.”

John Riches is here with Namibia’s Minister of Culture Jerry Ekandjo and artist Ndasuunje Papa Shikongeni.

 

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