Usakos exhibition in Shanghai will uplift the community

Sharlien Tjambari

The travelling exhibition “Usakos – Photographs beyond Ruins: the old location albums, 1920s-1960s” is currently on show in China. The Chief Executive Officer of Usakos Ivin Lombardt said the exhibition will contribute to the upliftment of the community.

The vice-president of East China Normal University in Shanghai, Dr Li Zhibin, officially opened the exhibition, which will be on show until the end of May. It is the first exhibition on Africa that the East China Normal University has ever hosted in its beautiful gallery space and the exhibition on the history of Usakos is attracting a lot of interest among students and staff.
Bringing the Usakos exhibition to China was the result of a trilateral collaboration between the University of Basel, Switzerland, the East China Normal University, Shanghai, and the Museums Association of Namibia. According to Lombardt the Usakos town Council has been part of the planning and execution as well. In fact, a local resident, Mr Robbie Sabab, who was trained in setting up and displaying the international mobile exhibition accompanied the exhibition to Shanghai, China. Mr Sabab is a member of the Usakos Museum Committee and the Museums Association of Namibia. He has been actively involved in the mounting of the Usakos exhibition at different venues over the last four years and with activities linked to the exhibition.
The local hosts of the exhibition, Prof Mu Tao from the History Department and Dr Hu Ying from the Museum Studies Department indicated that it had created curiosity among staff and students about Namibian history and art. They were deeply impressed by the quality and uniqueness of the historical photographs in the Usakos exhibition and expressed their sincere interest in the possibility of future exhibition exchanges as a vehicle for dialogue. Mr Sabab suggested that the Chinese hosts might consider developing an exhibition that could introduce Chinese lives to a Namibian audience. He argued that increasing peoples’ understanding of each other’s history and culture is an important way of breaking down prejudice in the world today.
With China being the most recent destination, the “Usakos – Photographs beyond Ruins” exhibition has promoted Namibian heritage all over the world wherever one of the two versions of the travelling exhibition have been on show.
When asked by namib times how this exhibition will benefit Usakos Lombardt said: “We foresee that a great deal of awareness about our small town, Usakos would be raised in China through the exhibition. The same exhibition has been displayed in places like Basel, Geneva, Berlin, parts of the US, the Caribbean, and Mozambique and in many parts of South Africa. We are optimistic that by the time our Museum is up and running, we will receive many visitors, who will contribute to the upliftment of our community”.
Lombardt further said the Usakos Museum is not fully operational at this moment. Council is still putting together the puzzles that will see it become operational, most likely by the end of the year. “We are lucky to have the support of the Museum Association of Namibia (MAN) every step of the way. At the same time, we are also collecting more artifacts that will be displayed in the museum once it becomes operational”. The Museum will open in the OMEG building and will showcase the history and culture of the town.

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