|Riding Souls (Cabalgando Almas)21 April to 05 May 2015
Omba Gallery is delighted to host the second ‘Riding Souls’, a solo exhibition by Cuban artist, Yasiel Palomino Pérez. The critically acclaimed ‘Riding Souls’ or ‘Cabalgando Almas’ in Spanish, was first exhibited in Havana, Cuba and, after falling in love with Namibia soon after his arrival in January this year, Pérez made the decision to exhibit the second ‘Riding Souls.’
Using oil and acrylic paint in combination with fine and large, emotional brushstrokes, Pérez depicts various breeds of horses moving restlessly across large canvases. Looking at the paintings, one can almost hear the horses snorting impatiently through flared nostrils and faintly, the dull pounding of their hooves on the earth. He seeks perfection and Pérez found it entirely in the temperament and physical nature of the horse. The Spanish word for ‘soul’ is ‘alma’ and there on his canvases spirited equestrian phantoms gallop and storm seemingly from nowhere but actually from the very bowels of Latin American spirituality and nostalgia – sweet and warm but with a bitter aftertaste – towards the observer.
True to his anti-materialistic Cuban roots, Pérez says that once upon a time, before the advent and interference of technology, man and horse were one. In this relationship, the horse, a beautiful, majestic creature on its own, became the perfect metaphor for the yearnings of the human heart and has come to symbolise for him the essence of the soul (both man and beast) – the unselfconscious beauty as manifested by horses and the awe they inspire with their graceful movements. In the world of Yasiel Palomino Pérez a wild horse running without restraint is akin to the attainment of the highest form of freedom and freedom, he says with some intensity, is the core yearning of every human heart. ‘My horses,’ Pérez adds, ‘are always free.’
About Yasiel Palomino Perez
Yasiel Palomino Pérez hails from the town and province of Las Tunas, in the Colonia Blanca area of Cuba. He was born into a family of musicians, artists and poets. His father is a self-taught music teacher. A great influence on his life and art, this exhibition in particular, was the friendship he had shared with his horse, Fury, as a young child on the family farm in Colonia Blanca and he used to spend hours watching and drawing horses.
Pérez attended La Academia de Artes de la Provincia Las Tunas and graduated in 2006. He spent the next three years lecturing at his alma mater and dedicated his leisure time to producing his own artworks. It takes him on average between two days to a week to complete a painting and he doesn’t use any visual aids to draw his horses, preferring instead to draw on his immense vault of memories. His first solo exhibition, the first ‘Riding Souls’, took place in Havana, the capital of Cuba, in 2014, followed by group exhibitions in Russia and Germany.
|True Reflections31 March to 19 April 2015
In March 2015, a series of large format photographs by Namibian wildlife photographer, Richard Fryer, was exhibited at Omba Gallery. The exhibition called ‘True Reflections’ was Fryer’s first solo as wildlife photographer, and consisted of more than twenty large, awe-inspiring images forming part of a series he made while touring coastal and north-western Namibia.
From kissing seals at Cape Cross, desert elephants lumbering through dry river beds, the haunting ruins at Kolmanskop, aerial shots of the fog and dunes of the Namib Desert, breath-taking landscapes, to the ghostly shipwrecks of the Skeleton Coast, Fryer presented a moving tribute to the drama and majesty that is Namibia.
The large, canvas-printed photographs were made using a Canon camera and are part of Fryer’s personal archive, documenting his extensive travels throughout Namibia.
About Richard Fryer
Fryer, the son of well-known Namibian wildlife painter, Dick Fryer (who passed away three years ago), was born and raised in Namibia, and like his father, initially embarked on a career as a game warden. He was employed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism from 1991 to 2006, as head of the Game Capture Unit and managed the Rhino Custodianship Scheme. Fryer defected to the lucrative private tourism sector in 2006 and joined Wilderness Safaris as project manager, tour-guide and guide trainer. While touring through Namibia, an Italian acquaintance encouraged him to seriously take up photography. Fryer is currently a full-time wildlife photographer, freelancer and wildlife consultant to most notably, the Namibian charter of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and NNF (Namibia Nature Fund).
Namibia holds no secrets for an experienced adventurer like Richard Fryer. He knows every nook and cranny of the country like he does the lines of his hand. The aforementioned qualities more than anything lend a powerful authenticity to Fryer’s images which is rarely seen in photography depicting Namibian wildlife and landscapes.
Displayed to perfection on very large canvases, photographs (including aerial shots) of wildlife and scenery from Elizabeth Bay and Luderitz in the south, through the Sperrgebiet, the Skeleton Coast, right up to the mouth of the Kunene River in north-western Namibia, show Fryer’s incredible sense of depth and detail, while the scope of his landscapes and aerial photographs perfectly captures the majesty of that ancient geography.
With a focus on desert-adapted wildlife such as elephants and antelope, Fryer gently juxtaposes the austerity of the Namib Desert with the brittle fragility of its living ecologies, as if he wishes to preserve both their essence and existence. In the background, running invisibly through the large canvases like a fine thread, is a deep-seated concern and compassion for Namibian wildlife which is particularly noticeable in his wildlife photographs. This is an exhibition not to be missed.
Richard Fryer has meticulously selected the most captivating and poignant from his collection for this exhibition. Ideal for interior decorators, architects, corporates, designers but also collectors, the size of the large full-colour canvases has the effect of drawing the observer into the scene or landscape.
|Eyes on Africa04 to 29 March 2015
South Australian artist, traveller and teacher, Ineke van den Hout, exhibited her visual diary of her adventures, experiences and impressions that were collected during her six months journey through East Africa.
"Eyes on Africa" included watercolours, sketches, diaries and paintings of her journey and were exhibited at the Omba Gallery in Windhoek, Namibia, from the 3 March till the 29 March 2015. Ineke owns the Red Heart Art Studio in Port Augusta, South Australia. She creates to make sense of the world around her. She believes, as does Marcel Duchamp, that the creative process is always more important than the end product.
"It is through the process of being creative I come to understand my experiences with different cultures, countries and customs. I don't profess to "understand" or "know" Africa at all. As a traveller I am aware that I only see the surfaces of places and people. The people I meet are the subjects and the objects of my exhibition", says Ineke. Her attitude towards her art making as a process served her well, as the artist lost a significant amount of work she produced during her journey!
Ineke started her journey on the 4th of July 2014 -from Adelaide to Addis Ababa, via Hong Kong. In Ethiopia she attended the University graduation of her (adopted) grandson. Afterwards she travelled through the Omo Valley (the cleanest valley in the world!) and Harar, as well as spending time with her grandson's family in Lalibella.
After Ethiopi, Ineke travelled to Kenya, where she spent four weeks in the Mara. There she lived in a traditional mud hut for two weeks and spend time viewing and tracking wild life. Also she learnt how to shoot a bow and arrow. Carrying water the traditional way was a daily (and heavy) task. After the early rains transformed her accommodation back to its original form eg; mud! she travelled on to Tanzania using the local modes of transport (small mini buses overloaded and driving like mad men!) Her birthday was spent in Zanzibar, where she was deeply touched by the history and memorial statues of the Slave Trade in Stone Town.
Ineke said: " Tanzania was the most productive and creative country. Within two days I was fully absorbed in the arts culture in Dar es Salaam. There was an international arts conference going on and I was invited to attend both evenings! I ended up painting at the NAFASI art space (an artist collective); these paintings were all left on a truck, the first time I hitched a ride!"
Malawi was about rest and recreation as she had a nasty fall on her last night in Tanzania (she thought she had broken her hip!) resting, painkillers and relaxing resulted in little art being made! Ineke's journey continued on to Zambia, where she spent much of her time viewing the rich wild life of the South Lilongwe National Park. A severely injured lion cub, two fighting hippos in the camp and an encounter with a HUGE bull elephant on the way to the restaurant were all remarkable yet intimate wildlife impressions she collected. Also being in the middle of TWO riots in the capital of Zambia added to the sense of adventure! This exhibition is her travel story.
Botswana was rather mild, just visiting friends and a trip down into the Okavango Delta, where she was caught, in a boat filled with water, in the middle of a huge thunder storm. It was the last day of 2014 and Ineke thought she wasn't going to see the New Year at all! In Maun she painted an impressive mural on a backpacker Lodge's wall and exactly six months after she started her journey, January 4th 2015, she arrived in Namibia. While her journey was wholly self-funded, Ineke will attend an artist residency during her stay in Windhoek as part of the Namibia Australia Artist Exchange Programme. This programme was initiated in 2013 by the Namibian Art South-South Trust with the support of the National Arts Council of Namibia and the South Australian Port Augusta Cultural Centre- Yarta Purtli, and the Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre in Adelaide, South Australia.
Ineke's residency is supported by the Art South~South Trust, Yarta Purtli and private Namibian donors.
09 to 28 February 2015
It has become a tradition! Graduates of the College of the Arts get together once a year in February to exhibit their new work.
This was the 7th New Beginnings Exhibition hosted by the Omba Art Gallery at the Namibia Craft Centre. Recent and past graduates of the College of the Arts got together to showcase the results of their artistic labours.
Works arrived by taxi from the north, south, east and west of Namibia, as far-flung graduates of the College send their works to the capital for the annual New Beginnings Exhibition. Visual Artists who studied at the College enjoyed this opportunity to exhibit their work and valued the opportunity to sell their work to fund future artistic projects.
Art pieces of incredible diversity adorned the walls of the Omba Gallery: Sculptures made from re-claimed wire and metals, paintings stuck with beads, drawings created using smoke and glue, as well as more traditional prints, collages and paintings.
The creativity and inventiveness of these graduates had to be seen to be believed.