IIponga Yoomondjila, new work by Actofel Ilovu

Actofel Ilovu needs more tyres and you can help!


On the 9th February the ‘What’s your story?’ exhibition opened at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. This beautiful, and complex group exhibition was about a year in the making. New works by 82 artists were commissioned by the National Art Gallery over the course of 2020. Through this financial support artists were able to make work reflecting on their lives and the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of these artists was Actofel Ilovu.



Ilovu’s work ‘Ilponga Yoomondjila’ (or ‘Road Accidents’), hangs on an exterior wall of the National Art Gallery, facing Robert Mugabe Avenue. It is made up of tyres, bottle caps, fabric and tin, tied together with a combination of wire and cable ties. The abstract composition hangs from about four meters high and falls all the way to the ground. Ilovu has used old tin cans, bottle caps and wire. From afar the work reads cohesively, the dusty black of worn rubber creates a soft background for the finer lines of rusted and shiny metal. Ilovu collected these tyres from the side of the road, debris from countless accidents.


The number of car accidents per capita in Namibia is notoriously high. Ilovu observes that these accidents are often caused by mixing alcohol and driving, or by burst tyres. Driving across Namibia, the scene of shredded tyres is a familiar one. The artwork is installed at a busy intersection close to Windhoek’s city centre. Drivers who pull up at these traffic lights, have a chance to consider the destruction and debris. The artist describes how ‘Ilponga Yoomondjila’ can totally turn someone’s life upside down. Oftentimes, the repercussions of a road accident affect more lives than only that of the driver.


For Ilovu the contrast between the materials he uses, represents the duality of two potential lives, he says: ‘No one chooses to live a bad life, a rusty life, and no one chooses to live a good life, a shiny life, as represented in the materials.’


On the one hand this work is an abstract/philosophical exploration of life on the other it is a simple call for awareness. Check your tyres! Make sure they aren’t worn to the point of disaster. He urges everyone to check the age of their tyres by looking at the TIN (Tyre Identification Number) number on their sidewalls.


This artwork is just the beginning. Actofel Ilovu hopes to source many more tyres and create an installation of monumental proportions. If you see an old or shredded tyre on the side of the road or know where he could find more please drop us a line or get in touch with Actofel directly: actofelart@gmail.com





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