Under Threat – Leonard Abrahams

UNDER THREAT A visual art exhibition by Leonard Abrahams Official Opening: 2 March 2018 Duration: 1-23 March 2018 Omba Gallery is pleased to announce that ”Under Threat”, an art exhibition by self-taught Namibian creole artist, Leonard Abrahams, will officially open in the gallery on 2 March 2018. The word ‘threat’ is defined in English dictionaries as the identification or perception of someone or something likely to cause harm, damage or is dangerous, and this is exactly how Leonard Abrahams views the objects in his paintings.

A lion and its cub, the beautiful Christus Kirche in Windhoek as a symbol of Christianity, cattle carrying the burdens of human survival and civilisation, a lone San man, his feet disappearing into clouds of dust, a woman carrying a load of wood in modern garb, our temporal existences, as well. ‘Everything is under threat’, he says, with a smile, ‘so are we, even as we live.’ Through the visual presentation of images on canvas, most of them familiar to Namibians, Abrahams also expresses his Namibian aesthetic, values and that which he strongly feels deserves protection; his concerns for the environment, a light touch on politics, the well-being of people and their lifestyles. His works are literal representations with subtle messages, not abstract, nor ornamental, and yet, are, technically, extremely well-executed for a self-taught artist.


It was the trained eye of a Roman Catholic nun at the Marianum Seminary in Stampriet, southern Namibia, that first spotted his potential and with kind words encouraged a young Leonard Abrahams to draw. The seminary was situated in the small town of Stampriet in the Kalahari, north-east of Mariental, in the Hardap Region of southern Namibia and offered education to children in and from the surrounding areas. This was during the early 1960s when the political landscape in southern Africa was rapidly changing for the worse; a few hundred kilometres further south across the Orange River, white supremacy and Apartheid South Africa were rising.

Like many of his peers in that part of the country, Leonard Abrahams was typical for his milieu, culture and class. Of mixed ancestry, he was from a poor, working-class background that viewed education as a privilege and the only means of escaping a lifetime of poverty. So it came about that when Leonard Abrahams left high-school, the pathways to employment and financial independence in an increasingly militarised Namibia under Apartheid South Africa, were limited to the major professions: Law, medicine, teaching and nursing. The idea of studying art was eliminated by the pressing and immediate needs of an extended family and finally, abandoned.

In 1981 he was accepted at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) to study for a Bachelor’s degree with law subjects. Upon graduation in 1985, and feeling disillusioned with the legal profession at the time, he opted to further his studies in the practical field of accounting, and for the next couple of years, worked as an accountant for various companies in the capital city of Windhoek. Since 2004, Leonard ventured into the transport logistics sector, in which he still operates to this day.

Throughout his life, its mercurial twists and unexpected turns, Leonard Abrahams’ desire to draw and paint never abandoned him, and albeit small, remained an ever-burning flame. Despite the circumstances in the backgrounds of many so-called naïve artists discouraging them from furthering education in fields related to the arts, the longing to express himself in images, on canvas, never waned for Leonard Abrahams, so much so that he secretly made a promise that the day he retired, would be the day he’d devote the rest of his life to painting. ”Under Threat” at Omba Gallery is the first public exhibition of the works of self-taught Namibian artist, Leonard Abrahams.


Omba Art Gallery is a private, commercial gallery situated in the heart of the city of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. A small, intimate atrium, Omba is regarded as one of Namibia’s premium exhibition venues with minimum security and physical obstacles towards creating a pleasant ambience for art lovers and collectors in which to enjoy the highest quality of original art up close and in absolute privacy.

For more information about this exhibition, please contact: Artist: Leonard Abrahams M: 081 377 2420 E:

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