“Drawing is my favourite discipline, balanced by the exploration of the physical textures of wood and stone. I love the expressive quality of a robust medium such as charcoal, but also like the detail allowed by sharp pencil. I look for parallel expressive opportunities in different mediums, and often attempt a combination of a variety of materials across traditional boundaries.”
Whether captured in charcoal, coloured in paint, and caught on canvas; or presented as life-sized objects carefully cast from natural material, Hercules Viljoen’s latest collection presents a refreshing reflection on everyday subject matter. The artist’s Domestic Adventures unfold as he takes the viewer along on a “search for aesthetic qualities in simple subjects, and celebrating the enjoyment of the creative process”. Each artwork exposes an introspective observation and personal attraction to the unhindered exploration of surface, tone, colour and form, or what he calls, “an elimination of boundaries between craft and sculpture, function and aesthetic significance”.
With a creative track record that dates back to the early eighties, Viljoen is no stranger to the visual arts scene. On the contrary, having honed a love for drawing from an early age, his calling reflects a life-long dedication to developing the discipline, not only in his personal capacity, but also as art educator and developer.
Having officiated his creative journey with a postgraduate qualification in Fine Arts in 1990, Viljoen embarked on a teaching career that spanned almost three decades, of which the last ten years as Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at the University of Namibia. He retired from teaching in 2012, and served as director of the National Art Gallery of Namibia for the five years to follow.
Throughout his professional career, Viljoen remained active as artist, and enjoyed international recognition for a number of public commissions. Some of his most celebrated works include sculptures of nationalist heroes Chief Kutako, Reverend Hamutumbangela and Chief Witbooi, on display at the Parliament Gardens in Windhoek. Others include site-specific installations that “carry significant social or political meaning” – at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre; in a historical prison cell in Fort Namutoni; and in the Jasper museum in Oranjemund.
Various national and international exhibitions, as well as professional artist’s workshops further adds to Viljoen’s artistic achievements, but it is his role in “assisting others to develop their potential” that provides the most satisfaction. “I have been fortunate to help create some growth opportunities for Namibian artists by introducing them to the workshop circuit and to involve them in professional projects”, he explains. Throughout the years, Viljoen initiated and managed several community development projects, including co-founding the Tulipamwe International Artists’ Workshop in 1994; and coordinating initiatives like Namibia: The Art of a New GeNerATION; Windhoek Redefined; and most recently, in 2021, the Oranjemund Public Art Project, Art Can Transform.
Experience Viljoen’s Domestic Adventures at The Project Room from 11 – 26 November 2022.
Below you will find the catalogue.