Tity Tshilumba is a visual artist who is prepared to do anything to put his works in the limelight. With up to 20 group and two solo exhibitions over the past 17 years under his belt, Tshilumba is optimistic that his work will go far in the art circles, both local and international.
The 40-year-old Tshilumba has exhibited in Switzerland in a group exhibition titled ‘Gender-Based Violence (GBV)’ in 2013, where he showcased his two artworks about GBV. He has also exhibited in Germany’s Wurth Museum in a group exhibition showcasing a Namibian art collection.
Having travelled the world in search for a niche in the art industry, Tshilumba described his journey as wonderful and the experiences as incredible.
With such experiences, Tshilumba was once again driven to open his second solo exhibition titled ‘The Daily Life’, at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN), last Thursday, an exhibition of 26 artworks focusing mainly on things happening on a daily basis.
The exhibition speaks for itself since all the artworks depict things that people do every day. Although his works are not only aimed at earning a living, some are also continuation work embraced with a passion in a traditional sense.
“Through his works, I see creativity, passion and dedication. This is the first time I officially met this very quiet and reserved artist, who strikes with a brush once you engage with him in an atmosphere of creativity,” says Chief Arts Education Officer and Administrator of the National Arts Council (NAC), Gretta Gasper.
Viewing his current exhibition, one can see how spectacular his works are. Art lovers will be impressed by an artwork titled ‘Save Water’, which depicts a calabash standing upside down with some drops of water coming out. He describes the painting as a clear image that tells people that every drop of water counts, as the country is facing a water crisis.
In another remarkable artwork, ‘Life with a Granny’, a child is seen in the painting sharing some chemistry with its granny while the mother is somewhere else in the world.
According to Tsilumba, the exhibition will inspire many art lovers, as it is based on a true story.
Born in 1976 in Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tshilumba graduated with a distinction in painting from the Institute des Beaux Arts in Lubumbashi in DRC in 1998.
His passion for drawing came to his attention when things around him inspired him from a tender age. “At first art was very difficult for me since I didn’t know how to bring out an artwork, frame and to present my work to the public. I only knew how to draw by then,” he says.
Upon his arrival in Namibia in 2000, Tshilumba has been struggling to make his work spectacular, until 2007 when he participated in his first group exhibition in Namibia titled ‘The Congolese Connection’, which saw him joining forces with his fellow countrymen.
Since then, Tshilumba’s contribution to the Namibian art scene has been coloured by his passion for everyday life and stories. Tshilumba typically works with oil paint on canvas.
“The people I painted are mostly the people around me, my neighbours and even passers-by who interest me. I often take a quick snapshot so that I can use the scene later in my work,” says Tshilumba.
After 16 years in Namibia, Tshilumba style and approach has finally grown and adapted yet still maintains its distinctive edge.
Tshilumba considers himself both a realistic and abstract painter and describes his style as being based in movement. A number of the works on ‘The Daily Life’ were inspired by a desire to increase awareness about the current drought that Namibia is facing.
Tshilumba’s first solo exhibition in Namibia was ‘La Passion de Vivre’ and held at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre in 2014.iko)