By Foibe N Paavo
SWAKOPMUND, April 21 – Creatives continue to complain about their dilemma and unappreciative views about the arts industry. Most of them say society fails to recognize its own creative talent, which lacks support, and as a result, the arts industry is limping! Many individuals are trying out different initiatives to help lift up the industry yet the community still fails to support them.
This I discovered too during my visit to a local creative centre, Adel’s Creations, in Woermannhaus, central Swakopmund.
Adel’s Creations comprises seven employees overall, including two interns. They take care of clothing alterations or anything that goes with tailoring and the creative arts. These Namibians design and create garments and jewellery made from African materials and then sell them to the public. Everything represents rich Namibian culture and African heritage.
There are also crafts for tourists where staff are joined by others by creative women from the Democratic Resettlement Community (DRC), an informal settlement near town.
“We buy the beads and give them to them to make bracelets or neck-pieces and then we buy it from them,” said the centre spokesperson, Benny Eiseb.
Everything which is made by hand-painted hats and printed or stitched bags – is done by their employees and sometimes the students. There are a number of very interesting pieces depicting how we live in Namibia. Rings and neck-pieces made from rare stones such as Tiger’s Eye, tourmaline etc. This artwork is also done by Namibians.
“You’re not going to find things that are very rare that we don’t do but we lack funding, some of our machines are fashionably old,” said Eiseb.
He explained that the centre is trying to expand and also employ a few talented artists and designers to help tackle unemployment. They take in students as interns from different institutions especially the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT). The selected students are taught basic tailoring and other handy creative work depending on their fields of study. Final year students come especially to do their practicals.
The centre is very small, however, it tries to accommodate the lucky ones when they can.
They depend heavily on tourists but as they declined due to the pandemic, they’re finding it very hard to keep up with their rent due to a lack of customers.
“You might be renting the place for N$10 000 and then you make N$8 000 or N$6 000, depending on how people are coming. You still need to pay the employees’ salaries though,” Eiseb complained.
“It’s very difficult for us to stand up because Covid reduced the number of tourists that come in on a daily basis, and very few Namibians are interested in artistic creations. And looking at the national economic situation, people are broke and I’m afraid most of them can no longer afford to buy our products. Even the few that show interest,” he said.
“Even if our dreams are to get a bigger place, support might be far from reach.” – Namibia Daily News