It takes a lot of dedication to keep the inspiration juices flowing over a span of nearly a decade, which for a small group of part time Swakopmund artists has worked perfectly well since they opened their well supported Meerkat Art Gallery in town.
Situated in a cosy courtyard nook, the gallery opens to the public on the last Sunday of every month in conjunction with a market held on the property, and judging by the amazing art on display, the Meerkat Art Gallery is more than a cottage industry offshoot. It is kept alive by a dozen local artists who create, exhibit and sell a versatile blend of textured paintings and craft art, each one possessing their own distinctive style.
Their collection of works has captured both the international art enthusiast, and local collectors who are drawn to the diversity of their pieces.
Looking around the art on the walls and wooden easels which are full of striking paintings with style varying from colourful abstracts, seascapes, wildlife, to collages or ‘assemblage art’ and some, there is no shortage of choice or size on offer by these creative ladies. Dieke Mette says because their art is reasonably priced, they are well supported, and are pushed to continually produce new pieces to fill the gallery. However, there is no time frame upon which they have to come up with “stock”, because different pieces require different methods. She says they do what they do for the love of art, and not just to make money, with their works going for as little as N$150 for a cute canvass acrylic, right through to a masterpiece, much like a huge N$4 000 Zebra painting, which is hanging in a Norwegian home. “We have a big European market, and our paintings are displayed all over the world which is really flattering, whilst our local support such as the lodges, has also been really good,” says Dieke.
“This is not supposed to be ‘high-end’ art, instead creative statement pieces that are meant to be decorative and bring joy and colour into someone’s life, and we use conventional and unconventional techniques and materials to achieve our results.” The gallery has actually been open for seven strong years, with each artist complementing the other, to produce something for everyone’s artistic taste. Although the artists come from different walks of life, they also started out with different levels of experience. Nonetheless, they have one thing in common, and that is a shared passion to be creative. It is also a testament to their shared enthusiasm, which has been their recipe to success.