Climbing up one of the highest dunes in the world at Sossusvlei provides breathtaking views of perhaps Namibia's most outstanding scenery. Barbara Pirron, a local painter, shares her Sossusvlei...
“Sossusvlei, and the desert of Namibia in general, is a miraculous place. It’s out of this world. I always have this feeling of disbelief when in Sossusvlei. The natural environment is so overwhelming you almost cannot believe it’s real. There lies an archaic power and spirituality within the mountains and dunes of Namibia that never ceases to inspire me. For an artist, the light and colors offer endless possibilities to work with. The view of Sossusvlei under the pastel morning light is completely different to the glaze the staunch lunchtime sun creates.
I came to this country over 40 years ago, having grown up in southern Germany. I was a mountaineer, traveling the world, and kind of ‘got stuck’ here in Namibia. I just couldn’t seem the leave this magical place. What I love about Namibia now is completely different from what I fell in love with back then. When I was young, it was all about adventure and mountaineering in places like the Erongo and Brandberg. Now I enjoy spending time in the countryside, its vast empty spaces and diverse cultures. Visitors experiencing Namibia for the first time will be surprised by the cleanliness, modern functioning cities, and the strong German influence.
My artistic involvement is like a window into my experiences within Namibia’s impressive masses of sandstone and granite rocks. These magnificent landscapes remain my source of inspiration and the starting point of my collaged oil paintings. My greatest joy comes from sketching from the foot of a mountain or dune, alone with the ‘great silences’ and the many voices of nature. Painting to me is an urge, a challenge, a withdraw into my very space. I encourage all visitors to take advantage of the quietness of this country and really listen to your soul. Even when taking photos, do not be satisfied with merely capturing the physical essence of your surroundings. Try to make it a personal reflection of your experience.
Art is very special in Namibia. Artists in rural areas are making use of local products to create crafts, like makalani nuts from palm trees. Cardboard print originated in Namibia, simply because rural artists had no other materials to use. Institutions like the National Art Gallery of Namibia, Franco Namibian Cultural Centre and Namibian Craft Centre offer visitors the opportunity to experience the abundance and variety of artwork in our country. A visit to townships and places like the Katutura Community Art Centre offer a chance to not only view rural art, but interact with local artists and students.”