Gina Figueira

Helen Harris

Helen Harris was born and grew up in Windhoek, Namibia. She graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in December 2013 with an Honour’s Degree in Fine Art (sculpture) and a Batchelor’s Degree in Social Anthropology with the support of a Sam Cohen Scholarship. After graduating from her undergraduate degree Helen worked actively in the Namibian art world. In 2014 Helen co-founded a small publication called Artwolfe Zine with the aim of producing a platform for writing and thinking about Namibian art. In 2016 and 2017 Helen worked as the Exhibitions Curator at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. During this time she curated several group and solo exhibitions. In 2017, Helen co-founded StArt Art Gallery with Gina Figueira. Helen and Gina co-curated exhibitions at StArt Art gallery in 2017 and 2018. In 2019 the gallery moved online so that they could continue to run it from a distance while studying. Helen completed her MA in Contemporary Curating (with distinction) at the Manchester School of Art in 2019 with the support of a Commonwealth Scholarship. Her MA research focussed on the work of eight curators, emphasising the need to highlight and create space for decolonial perspectives and local knowledge creation within the writing of Namibian art history. 

 

In 2019 Helen received a British Council Research Fellowship to work at the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Helen conducted research relating to national representation at the Biennale with specific emphasis on the presence and absence of African national pavilions. 

 

Selected Curated Exhibitions:

 

2018: Side by Side, Goethe-Institut, Windhoek, Namibia

Mind to Hand, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia (Solo exhibition, Lynette Diergaardt)

The Black Light Portrait Party, Goethe-Institut, Windhoek, Namibia

Look-See, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

BOOTH, National Art Gallery of Namibia

Shifting Horizons, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia  (Solo exhibition, Barbara Böhlke)

2017: StArt Salon Volume 1, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

Being Here, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

The Shape of Life, Namibianart.net

Inside The Room, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia (Solo exhibition, Laimi Mbangula)

2015-2017: During this period Helen curated 12 solo exhibitions at the National Art Gallery of Namibia by

Yasiel Palomino, Lynette Diergaardt, Ismael Shivute, Kyle Weeks, Trudi Dicks, Petrus Amuthenu, Chris Snyman,Nicky Marais, Michael Mansfield, Oshosheni Hiveluah, Papa Shikongeni and Silke Berens

Helen also curated and co-curated 14 group exhibitions during this time including; 

1884-1915, an Artistic Position National Art Gallery of Namibia  (in collaboration with Spunk Seipel)

Conversations: A Call for Collaboration, National Art Gallery of Namibia

The 2017 Bank Windhoek Triennial, National Art Gallery of Namibia  (in collaboration with Ndeenda Shivute and Gina Figueira)

FREEING; Cardboard Cuts from Namibia, Kulturforum Alte Post, Neuss, Germany  (in collaboration with Klaus Richter)

Gina Figueira is one of the founders of StArt Art Gallery. Born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia, Gina has had her roots very much in the Namibian art community. Gina received an honours degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) from the university currently known as Rhodes in 2015. While a student, Gina worked as a gallery assistant for the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown), South Africa. This is where her interest in curation began. After graduating Gina worked at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in the Public Relations Office and as the Collections Curator. In 2017, Gina co-founded StArt Art Gallery with Helen Harris. While running StArt Art Gallery as physical and then an online gallery, in 2019 Gina graduated from the University of Leeds with support from the Chevening Fund with a Master of Art (MA) in Art Gallery & Museum Studies (with distinction). Her dissertation for this MA programme used the contentious removal of the Reiterdenkmal statue as a lens to explore the way in which the authorised heritage discourse of present-day Namibia is still founded on German colonialism and settler colonial culture. 

 

During her MA, Gina assisted in the coordination and curation of an exhibition in Leeds which formed part of a larger project titled FirstWaves which looked at the impact of the Race Relations Act(s) in the United Kingdom. Gina’s interests lie in post-colonialism and visual culture. 

 

Curated Exhibitions:

2018: FirstWaves, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Side by Side, Goethe-Institut, Windhoek, Namibia

Mind to Hand, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

The Black Light Portrait Party, Goethe-Institut, Windhoek, Namibia

Look-See, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

BOOTH, National Art Gallery of Namibia

Shifting Horizons, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

2017: StArt Salon Volume 1, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

Being Here, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

The Shape of Life, Namibianart.net

Inside The Room, StArt Art Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

Collecting the Nation, Maria Mwengere Centre, Namibia

Longstoryshort, National Art Gallery of Namibia

2016: Drawings: Past and Present, National Art Gallery of Namibia

Muafangejo: Memory and Activism, National Art Gallery of Namibia

Narratives of Space, National Art Gallery of Namibia

2013: Transitions, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa

 
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