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Mens (gemaak) – a reflection on humanity

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

“Man was created from dust, received breath, became human and was given a name. In this way, we’re all the same, all human, but we’re also all different and unique, and it’s our responsibility as individuals to acknowledge, get to know, and protect each other.”

Rudolf Seibeb is a people’s person, “put on this earth to help my fellow humans and make them happy”. His vibrant representations of reality attest to his calling, as each colourful face and shape introduce a playful impression or wisdom on human nature. The artist explains, “I draw my thoughts, paint my ideas, use my imagination…” and adds with a smile, “…my gift is that I can hide things in my paintings, and you have to pay close attention and look carefully to see it.”

Celebrated for granting his viewer “an intriguing space between abstraction and an innocent observation of reality”, Seibeb does not disappoint with his latest solo, Mens (gemaak) (translated from Afrikaans as ‘Man (made)’). By studying his environment and its happenings, the artist collects and offers creative material that reflects the challenges and joys of day-to-day life. Colourful canvasses portray gazing figures that speak of current issues to the likes of, ‘People protect endangered species around the world’, and ‘Peace and love among people and animals’. As the artist asks the viewer to contemplate daily experiences, he also hopes to remind that many of these are man-made, or as a result of our own doing, and as we play a part in constructing our own challenges, we also have the ability to craft a more positive outlook on life, and ultimately, help shape the world we want.

Seibeb has been an active participant in the local arts scene since the 90s, however, unlike the majority of his peers, didn’t start out with a career in art. At the time of his ‘artistic discovery’, Seibeb was working as machine operator for a canning company, keeping busy after hours by making small pieces of furniture out of reassembled clothes pegs. By pure chance, it was this very activity that got his talent noticed, and when he started his creative journey in 1998 – enrolling for a course in visual arts at the John Muafangejo Art Centre – “the seed was planted”. Under the watchful eye of teachers and mentors like Jo Rogge, Kay Cowley, Erik Schnack and Helena Brandt, Seibeb developed his artistic trademark and preference for constructed sculpting and colourful paintings of human emotion and activity.

While he is well represented in the region, the artist aspires to “get out and see my work all over the world”. As part of his mission to capture a bigger audience, in 2021 Seibeb opened a small studio and gallery in Okahandja. Located at the well-known wood workers and sellers’ market, he offers a space where visitors can see his paintings, prints and mixed media works in action, and buy from his personal collection. “It’s better to have a space where others can notice me and get to know my work. When people see my art, they also see me.”

Mens (gemaak) is on view at The Project Room from 5 to 20 August 2022.

Below you will find the catalogue.

Mens(Gemaak) 2
Download PDF • 3.05MB

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