It Wasn't Me08 October to 02 November 2014

It wasn’t me by Niina Marjatta Turtola
Ministry of Truth and Typography

Partner and sponsor: Embassy of Finland in Namibia, Windhoek

Design and art must be based on a concept. Form is born from the concept. Concept can take various forms. Thinking and the process are extremely interesting and important. The appearance is a mirror of thinking, but not the ultimate goal or function.

Niina Marjatta Turtola started the Ministry of Truth and Typography in 2013 as she could not comprehend that there were no questioning activities in the art scene in Namibia, about arts nor the society. Newspapers and everyday life in Namibia are violent in different ways. Namibians seem to take if for granted and live with it better than her, a foreigner. She sees Namibia as a hypnotized society that rather denies the truth than wants to approach it.

Art generally in Namibia, seems to be craft and meant for tourists. Except for a few exceptions of course who are swimming against the stream, like her.

Niina Marjatta Turtola holds a Master’s Degree in Graphic design. In Namibia it means absolute nothing. Anyone is doing graphic design. Let them do it. This juxtaposition drove her towards practicing arts using the elements and principles of graphic design without a complaining client.

If there is not concept there can be no design or art. Her art describes the society as it has been printed in the society. It wasn’t me creates a representation of the Namibian society. It is a mirror of it. All the words used and expressed through typographic expression can be found in the printed matter in Namibia, from Namibians to Namibians. It wasn’t me creates an image of the Land of the Brave through eyes and expression of a Finn visiting Namibia for some few years.

One of the art works is called The Hypnotized Society. Niina wrote these words down on her notebook after visiting an exhibition of Bernard Tschumi, avant-garde theorist and architect, called Concept and notation in Paris, May 2014. Theoretical approach must take place. Mostly pure commercial work can be mere visual pollution, as the client does not speak any visual language, but relies on the gut feeling, which is mostly wrong. And the audience has to look at the big vomit of so-called design.

On the occasion of the appointment of the Permanent Secretary, Honorable Dr T.H. Icknee, to the Ministry of Truth and Typography, and on the occasion of the official launch of the It wasn’t me project the ministry invites people to the Omba Gallery to reflect upon the meaning of questioning of the society and what art and design is.

It wasn't me is a concept. It flourishes from the continuous acts of denial - of individuals - us all - in the society. The words It wasn’t me are a vernacular, a too common talk, therefore making people justify all types of irresponsible acts with these simple words.

As with all the art and design one looks at the concept, context and implementation. The MTT was formed in response to denial and manifested itself in a project called Love Matters in Art. The Minister capably oversaw this most successful project.

The Minister, a Spotted Eagle Own, and the PS Spotted Thick-knee are monogamous birds. Viva Monogamy!

Niina Marjatta Turtola, will pursue her PhD studies in researching the visual culture of Namibia. She is the Personal Assistant to the Minister of Truth and Typography, was born in Finland and is currently visiting Namibia. She holds a MA degree in graphic design and typography. She is a lecturer, researcher and between-lines-reader. Niina undertakes self-initiated, non-commercial conceptual design projects that question normative social constructs and generic arts and craft. To question is to think.

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