Candice Mouton is an architecture graduate and an artist in her own right. At the beginning of June 2023 Candice started an internship with StArt and since then has proven herself to be an excellent curatorial assistant, a wonderful wrangler of social media and a ray of sunshine in what have been a few very busy months. Alongside her work with the gallery, Candice has been volunteering with the Bernard Nordkamp Centre, teaching art to children as part of their after-school programme. In the blog below Candice describes the process of painting her very first mural for the Centre!
One month of planning and logistics, a few days of wondering if this project was out of my league and a week’s worth of painting, and suddenly I stood in front of a three by twelve meter wall with a mural that I painted, alongside my friend, Clara Martin.
Located in Katutura on Tjikati Street on the back wall of the Bernhard Nordkamp Centre, stood the project I would be busy with for the next month. Fortunately I wouldn’t be doing it alone. I’d have Clara beside me, a French volunteer who is also an artist and unlike myself had done murals before (thank goodness).
The design was the first thing we had to figure out. The director of BNC, Mary Beth Gallagher, had a general idea of what she wanted us to portray. We wanted to create something that was positive, uplifting but that would also encourage passersby to contemplate the meaning of the mural. The process was collaborative and consultative but for the most part Clara and I were given creative freedom.
Although slightly confrontational, the words on the wall read, “Our Future Depends On You”. Confrontational, because it is a call to action and what does this call to action really mean? Our design is intended to be a message from the kids of the BNC to their parents and guardians alike. The mural is intended to spur on the surrounding community to reflect on the responsibility of parenthood and remind them of the vulnerability of children.
From that initial concept we had quickly come to the last week before Clara had to fly back to France and with that knowledge, the dread settled in. Dread that if we weren’t finished in the next week I would be on my own painting the towering wall before me. To add insult to injury, we had yet to tackle the wall in its entirety! But like in one of those movies where the protagonist sits down and gets to work in an inspiring video montage, we dug our heels in and got cracking, working tirelessly to complete the wall.
In a whirlwind where some details are quite hazy, all I remember of the week is the feeling of metal scrapers on the wall, the sound of accidental splatters on the ground, my shaky legs on the ladder and flavoured ice like the ones my grandma used to make, from the pink house across the road. Not to mention the blazing sun that felt like it had shrunk down and sat comfortably on our heads. After all the hard work, we finished with two days to spare before Clara had to board her plane. It was only then that I really got to take a step back and look at the artwork we produced, a truly special moment with the kids running back to the wall and debating who was who in the mural, passersby sharing kind words and us being proud about this new addition to the surrounding community.
And just as quickly as the project came to be, the mural was completed. Taking it on, I knew that it was going to be a physically demanding and challenging undertaking but at the end of the day I gained a new belief in myself, I was able to explore a different artistic avenue and best of all I made new friends and connections with incredible people.
The Bernhard Nordkamp Centre is situated in the Damara Location in Katutura within walking distance of 8 primary schools. They offer after-school classes that are geared towards helping learners in grades 1 to 7. Welcoming over 170 children each afternoon, the BNC offers the children safety, food, education, sports activities, play time and a lot of positive social interaction. For more information head over to their website https://www.thebncnamibia.com/ If you are interested in volunteering and helping Candice with afternoon art-classes at the centre you can contact us at email@example.com