When textile art is used to reveal identity

Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - Textile art is creative art and crafts that incorporate the use of plants and animal or synthetic fibres to construct practical or decorative objects.

It is believed to be one of the oldest forms of art in human civilisation. Others believe that at its inception, it only focused on looks, but for practical purposes such as blankets to keep warm.

While others would use animal skins, furs, and leaves, among other organic materials, Namibian textile and fibre artist, Lynette Diergaardt, uses pattern, repetition, colour and visual texture to express the concept of identity.

In her exhibition, ‘Namibian Identity Through Textiles’ which ended last week at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN), Diergaardt manipulates a surface of a fabric characterised with textile art to tell a story beyond just a cloth on its own. It is a story of identity.

Diergaardt said her work connects textile and fibre in a way that a human spirit and mind does, producing a symbolic connection through memory and heritage.

“I have been working on a collection of prints in search of a Namibian identity through the elements of art, that is pattern, repetition, colour, visual texture between 2015 and 2019. For as long as I have been a student and educator there has been a search for a Namibian identity post-apartheid; and perhaps inclusive, or even excluding international influences through media and imported products.

“During the past four, years I have been on a journey of discovery, a discovery of who we are visually as Namibians in order to collect this data in the form of prints, large scale textile paintings, and a range of home products,” said Diergaardt.

Her exhibition uses unique drawn patterns that are derived from biological organism that she has collected within her environmental surroundings.

She said her work has many different drawing styles to make her piece have a holistic approach and show the true Namibian identity on a larger spectrum.

In the process of crafting the art, ‘Namibian Identity Through Textiles’,  Diergaardt said she conducted several workshops in 2017 where 10 interested participants were selected to draw and develop patterns.

Following the selection, she then took the patterns in their various forms out to the public to get an insight into what they found the most appealing to them. The most popular choices selected from the surveys have constituted the exhibition.

Diergaardt’s exhibition was held from June 6 to July 6, 2019.    

She hold a Master’s degree in Fine Arts in Textiles from Kent State University. Prior to that, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Textile Studies and Fashion Studies from the University of Namibia.

The artist is a proud alumni of the Fulbright Scholarship programme and has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions. She is currently a lecturer for Arts Education at the University of Namibia, Khomasdal Campus, Windhoek.

 

 

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