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ALIENATION, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND RECLAIMING: THE TRAJECTORY OF THE VISUAL ARTS IN NAMIBIAN NATION BUILDING

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Title

ALIENATION, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND RECLAIMING: THE TRAJECTORY OF THE VISUAL ARTS IN NAMIBIAN NATION BUILDING

Description

This dissertation examines the trajectory of Namibian art during the country's multiple phases of nationalism from 1946 to 2003. Nationalism, an ideological construct that posits unified national identity and a concomitant right to political autonomy, is manifested in the visual arts through specific subject mater and styles, which often combine indigenous symbols with modern vernacular. I argue that Namibian art developed along two distinct paths, each with its own symbols, subject matter, and styles. Black and white artist drew on their separate African and European heritages in order to assert the superiority of their own culture to reinforce or combat apartheid ideology.
Chapter one of the dissertation contains an overview of Namibia's apartheid history and outlines three phases of Namibian nation building. In chapter two, the use of landscape painting by European colonists in a way that erased indigenous history and culture is considered. Chapter three explores the work of John Muafangejo, whose linocuts mark the emergence of a subject matter focusing on the history and culture of black Namibians. Chapter four discusses the development of Afrocentric subject matter by Joseph Madisia and others and examines the arts policies of the resistance movement (SWAPO), which were directed at the development of black consciousness as an aid to nation building. Part fives examines post-independence Namibian art and confirms the continuation of racially separate, culturally driven subject matter without recognizable nation symbols, even after the formation of the modern nation.

Creator

Meredith Palumbo

Publisher

Indiana University

Date

2005

Format

PDF

Language

English

Type

PhD Dissertation (History of Art)

Files

Citation

Meredith Palumbo, “ALIENATION, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND RECLAIMING: THE TRAJECTORY OF THE VISUAL ARTS IN NAMIBIAN NATION BUILDING ,” Namibia Digital Repository, accessed June 18, 2018, http://namibia.leadr.msu.edu/items/show/353.

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