Volume 5: March & April 2015

John Kalunda


I was born in the Kavango Region in Kaguni Village. Art is my life; I grew up with art since my father is also a visual artist of carving. I completed my basic education in Kavango, Rundu. I always had a dream to become a visual artist in Namibia and also internationally. At this moment, I have graduated from the College of the Arts and I am holding an accredited Diploma in Visual Arts and Craft. I specialize in mixed media paintings and scenes of the urban area in the City of Windhoek. I have explored and developed my ideas in different ways while painting shanty-towns. This is representing the inequality of people living in Katutura, an urban settlement in Namibia.

My artworks are in two categories: Two Dimensions (2D) and Three Dimensions (3D). I have been working in the arts industry since my first year at the College of the Arts in 2010. In my second year, I started participating in art events, exhibitions and workshops.

I am inspired by the famous visual artist called Vusi Khumalo from South Africa, who works with similar techniques to me.


The theme of my art is describing the living standard of the poor and the rich living in urban settings. To describe this theme I use the same materials used to build houses in urban areas. Other themes include unequal development in urban areas and inequality that people experience in terms of economic growth, access to water, food, wealth, better houses and electricity. I try to portray the message that people are helpless, as they cannot afford these basic things.


I draw sketches made in Katutura, the largest location located in Windhoek. This is a place where tin shacks (Kambashus) and low income shelter can be found. I draw places in the location and then I use these sketches to design my compositions, develop them further and eventually transform them into hardboard paintings on a large scale. The hardboard paintings are measured in different sizes and attached to a frame for support. I use materials found around Katutura communities, such as rust tins in interesting forms, sand, stone, tin can, boxes, wire, wood, clothes, small sticks, hardboard and plastic that will be cut into different sizes. I apply these to the hardboard surface to create an image of the ghetto that I live in.

These materials represent the real materials used to build shelters in shanty towns. They also represent the reality of the life poor people live when they are living in kambashus. Acrylic paints are applied on the surface as a medium to create background and to express the perspectives in the picture.


The purpose of exploring the ideas of shantytowns is to express the material used to build houses in these settlements in the city of Windhoek. It describes the development in shantytowns and the lack of effort to improve the living standard of these people who live in this area.

Urban Flood Mixed Media Painting

Urban Flood
Mixed Media Painting

One thought on “John Kalunda

  1. Pingback: Vol. 5, Issue 2: Special Editorial – Happy Birthday, Namibia! | ARTWOLFE

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