The reports of all 5 Judges are published in the Triennial Catalogue and can found at NAGN
The Bank Windhoek Triennial is a national art competition. Inclusion requires work of an exceptional standard that should serve as an incentive and a challenge to Namibian artists to reach creative excellence. It is indeed encouraging to note that some well established artists were brave enough to create work in entirely new formats from what they are used to. This admirable energetic and proactive spirit was rewarded. Many excellent works were recorded, of which the 20 best works were awarded prizes.
Very few works of a truly ambitious scale were submitted. Some of the ideas expressed on small scale were potentially good, but not convincing because of their insignificant size. A few courageous artists tried their hand at multimedia installations. This is a difficult discipline where technical and conceptual issues can make big demands on the artist, especially when it incorporates various components and a variety of formats. Multimedia installations have tremendous persuasive potential, but are, as artwork, still subject to many of the fundamental principles valid for all other disciplines. The importance of the various components “talking” to each other is of prime importance to avoid a disjointed work that runs the risk of rendering itself powerless.
The large number of recreational artists who submitted work was encouraging. It brought attention to the many that have interesting ideas to express themselves visually, but lack the technical capacity to create convincing pieces. This calls for a nation-wide strategy to create opportunities to develop visual arts skills and knowledge, where basic design principles, practical techniques, and art appreciation topics could be introduced for further development.
The panel of five judges analyzed, debated over, and sometimes revisited every artwork submitted for selection before arriving at a decision. This was a taxing but extremely informative process which really helped to define issues.
It was also of extreme importance to consider every piece according to accepted criteria and to provide clear reasons for decisions. For this reason a written record was kept of all important issues highlighted during discussions.
Hercules Viljoen is the director of the National art Gallery of Namibia