Text by Marita van Rooyen
Images by Helga Kohl
My voice and contributions at documenting the earth’s beauty are important in making people aware of the immense destruction done by man in the last few centuries. I believe we all have a duty to save our planet.
Helga Kohl, Professional Photographer
Renowned local photographer, Helga Kohl, is taking a visual Namibia to the next level. Recently honoured with an invitation to exhibit her artwork Namibian Sand Houses as part of the exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, to be hosted at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, USA.
“Planet Earth is a gift from the Creator, who gave us humans the ability to take care of Earth’s abundance of beauty and life. Each generation has the responsibility to take care and maintain wisely the resources for future generations. I document the reality and beauty I observe that depicts the timeless nature of the planet,” says Helga about her work. The featured image was shot at Namibia’s world famous ghost town of Kolmanskop.
Curator Karen Milbourne explains Helga’s work as “compelling and haunting images that capture the slow drama of human whim and terrestrial endurance. In so doing, they reveal the power of sand as “a physical property and metaphysical allusion” (Longwell 2008: 46). We look forward to featuring this poetic photograph in a section entitled Material Earth.”
The Smithsonian Institution explains: “Environmental activism, territorial disputes, awareness of natural resources, heritage and personal memory – each of these compelling issues fuels the extraordinary works of art included in this memorable exhibition.” The exhibition is the first to examine the conceptually complex and visually rich relationship between African artists and the land upon which they live, work and frame their days. “This watershed exhibition gathers artworks created across the continent from the 18th to 21st centuries, and includes original, site-specific installations to provide a complex and nuanced overview of the diverse and dynamic ways in which individuals, communities and land interact.”
The exhibition will bring together about 100 exceptional works of art that are divided into six themes; The Material Earth, Power of the Earth, Imagining the Underground, Strategies of the Surface, Art as Environmental Action, and Earthworks.
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa is scheduled to open at the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC on Earth Day, 22 April, 2013 and will be on show until 5 January 2014.
Helga is a professional freelance analogue photographer trained in Germany and a member of Professional Photographers of Southern Africa. She also has a fellowship in fine art and architecture. She currently lives in Windhoek, but sees herself as a citizen of the global village.
Get in touch with Helga Kohl: firstname.lastname@example.org