Jo Rogge's UN/Declared UN/Desirable exhibition on at the FNCC

14 Jul 2015 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 14 JUL (NAMPA) – Artist Jo Rogge seeks answers to the omnipresent fear, discrimination, anxiety and stigma around topics of nationality, sexuality and class in her temporary homeland and continent.
Rogge said during her exhibition which opened at the Franco-Namibia Cultural Centre (FNCC) on 06 July 2015 that returning to Namibia from a foreign expedition, she quickly noticed gender-based violence (GBV) and racism happening and never really understand why it happens.
The artist said she started to interrogate culture for herself, and her findings set her on a path that she has been on for quite some time - concerned with her identity, belonging and family background. Her late father was displaced as a refugee from East Prussia, suffered subsequent internment in Germany and later exiled to Africa.
“Understanding that I am other; we ‘other’ each other all the time and this is really problematic, and we have to stop with that,” Rogge said.
She stated that if discrimination amongst people is not addressed, people cannot expect to move forward or to understand each other.
“If people continue with such attitudes then they should take responsibility for their actions and understand why they do it,” said Rogge.
She uses her artwork as a way to address issues shared by individuals in society such as discrimination, racism, GBV, among others. Rogge believes it is important to allow her work to move people's way of thinking forward when dealing with such issues.
“We need to interrogate our own identity in order to relate better to one another,” Rogge said.
Her work currently on display touches on identity and how people label others according to their race, sexuality, class, ethnicity and nationality.
Rogge’s mix media pieces include sculptures, masks, paintings, as well as photographs.
She is a visual art lecturer at various universities in Namibia and South Africa, and has since 1992 held 10 solo exhibitions.
Most of her work has been collected by art lovers from countries such as Norway, Spain and America.
She is also a co-founder of the John Muafangejo Art Centre, the founding editor of Sister Namibia and co-founder of the Big Issue Magazine.
Walking through her exhibition at the FNCC, it is impossible for a viewer to remain calm and focused as Rogge’s art with its rich textures and loud images imply the rapture of a suppressed debate on the many aspects of an individual’s identity that is defined against their will by the norms of society alone.
The exhibition ends 05 August 2015.