SIDE BY SIDE
Collaboration and conflict are themes pertinent to various structures and relationships around us. Opposing concepts in the process of construction and destruction, these dynamics often have positive and negative connotations. Working side by side to create this exhibition, Ismael Shivute and Mateus Alfeus have explored the tensions of this theme. Using recycled materials to create analogies for violence within our communities, Alfeus has often worked with the visual metaphor of dogs fighting. Also using found metals and other materials, Shivute’s oeuvre thus far has examined the daily challenges and successes of his immediate environment and community.
This body of work was created in a shared studio space at the Katutura Community Art Centre. Artists often share space and work together, growing through mutual critique and evaluation. These cohesive environments can profoundly influence the work made. Working side by side has its challenges and benefits and as such we see work that develops not only out of challenge and conflict but also collaboration.
In the construction of their sculptures, Shivute and Alfeus have worked in mediums that require hard physical labour, heat and machinery. These processes have a physicality to them that may read as violence. Often the artists push the materials to reflect organic shapes that are not inherent in their industrial structure. This conflict finds resolution in the final artworks. Some of this conflict is visible in the final product, in the welded joints and bended metal. However the works also read cohesively, whole unto themselves.
Both in Namibia and globally there seems to be a polarization of political positions. The divisions in society, our borders, our social structures, seem only to be strengthening over time, as we become more and more rigid in our identities, as citizens and individuals. These dividing structures often seem to come at the expense of embracing diversity and working towards equality. While conflict often comes as a necessary part of communication we must remember to keep the final goal in mind if we are going to continue working side by side.