‘Icons & Symbols?’ is a cardboard print created by Namibian artist Lok Kandjengo. It formed part of the online exhibition ‘Finding Memories: an everyday archive of Independence’ which took place in February 2021. This exhibition was an activation within the Everyday Archive of Independence, which is a digital space for the everyday, family photos and personal memories.
Lok Kandjengo’s cardboard print speaks to the contentious visual memory landscape of Windhoek. The parliament buildings in the centre of the print started as the administrative centre of German colonial rule, then became the seat of the Apartheid South African government and is currently where the democratic Namibian government convene. This building is a political nexus that has shifted over time. Kandjengo’s print works to conflate time and space, bringing the recently contested statue of German general Curt von Francois into the same frame as the parliament buildings, and a statue of the ‘Founding Father’ of Namibia, Sam Nujoma. Kandjengo is well known for his love of cars and in this print we see a farmer’s bakkie and an old VW beetle. Both of these cars have been and continue to be symbols of economic privilege. Together with their background we see a complex portrait of power, wealth and freedom.