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Of the Greatness of Life

Of the Greatness of Life

Of the Greatness of Life
TALENTED: Some of the canvases from the “Of Greatness of Life”, a solo exhibition by Dr. Helmut Lauschke._Photo: contributed

Zorena Jantze

A mature introspection of living through Art

HUNG against the bleach white walls of the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN), Dr. Helmut Lauschke’s paintings explode with colour, with the pictures merging like red white blue arterial streams, each canvas, iridescent.

The exhibition, which is the NAGN’s first showcase of the year, is titled “Of the Greatness of Life” and is a solo exhibition by Dr. Lauschke.

Born in Cologne, Germany, in 1934, Lauschke moved to Namibia in the early 80s, and worked as a medical doctor at the Oshakati state hospital in northern Namibia until September 1998.

Exchanging the scalpel for the brush, Lauschke noted that apart from his vast medical experience, he is dedicated to visual arts. This is his third solo exhibition at NAGN.

Using thick strokes of deep reds, eerie grey, white hues to vibrant shades of yellow, Lauschke incorporates the Impasto thick painting technique, his brush relentless on the canvases, each stroke visible and almost protruding out of the canvas.

The exhibition also adorns expressive paintings, particularly inspired by the people from the north, their way of life and how they live, especially during a time filled with great challenges.

Historically, the Oshakati state hospital was situated inside the war zone, with bombs being detonated in and around the hospital premises.  It was constantly overcrowded and the few medical doctors available worked hard day and night, at times too physical exhaustion to assist patients.

Lauschke’s artwork brings to the viewers’ attention the psychological and physical sufferings that the war caused.

This can be seen in the paintings such as ‘Children as Playing’, ‘Suffering’ and ‘Kwashiorkor’ – a condition he treated so often in the hospital.

Spontaneous yet heavy, Lauschke swirls thick currents of paint on to the canvas, his trained hand creating askew dimensions that howl through the canvas, making his art visually arresting.

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