Elize van Huyssteen is the manager and curator of the Arts Association Heritage Trust.
Artwolfe: How does the AAHT go about promoting and preserving Namibian art?
Elize: The Arts Association Heritage Trust, a legal body since 2006, has been established to act as custodian of the large collection of the Arts Association of Namibia. The Heritage Collection of the AAN, formerly known as ‘the permanent collection’ consists mainly of modern and contemporary Namibian artworks; and traditional and contemporary African Art collected since 1947. This valuable collection is stored, preserved and exhibited according to the International Council of Museums’ standards.
Regular exhibitions, especially the Annual Visual Art Museum Programme (AVAMP), are valuable tools used to create awareness and appreciation for Namibian art. The AAHT usually publishes art catalogues accompanying its exhibitions, in partnership with local sponsors. Art talks or presentations on specifically the artists and artworks in the Heritage Collection, are occasionally given to students of art. Since 2012 the Arts Association Heritage Trust has offered sponsorships to ten Namibian students in the Visual Arts. The process of collecting and compiling data for its database has been an ongoing mission. In this regard the AAHT provides a service to artists, students and researchers in the field of Namibian art.
Artwolfe: What does the AAHT hope to achieve with its activities?
The AAHT aims to raise awareness for the significance of art and art education in the development of a holistic and culturally-rich society. It also aims to promote Namibian artists and art, locally and globally.
Artwolfe: It must be difficult to run an organisation like this one, where does the AAHT get its support from?
The Wilfred Metje Foundation has been a benefactor to the Arts Association, founder of the AAHT, since 1971. These funds are solely allocated for the acquisition of artworks. Since the AAHT is a private art, not-for-gain organization it relies greatly on donor funding for its day-to-day running costs and other activities.
Artwolfe: Does the AAHT have any big plans for our readers to look out for?
Yes, the AAHT would like to revive the Namibian Arts Association, a member-based organisation, founded in 2005 that became unfortunately dormant. The AAHT hopes that the NAA, as an active NGO, will support the visual artists, students and projects directly linked to the development and improvement of quality in the visual art sector. It envisions intellectual and cultural exchange through networking with individuals and groups of similar interest.
If you want to find out more, the AAHT can be contacted by telephone at +264 (0)61 302 261, or by cellphone at + 264 (0)81 275 0678 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org