"Paul Godard has pushed the boundaries of photography far beyond documenting ordinary beauty. He uses the camera brilliantly as an artistic medium to create an iconography that challenges the audience’s imagination and suggests altered realities. His work invites the viewer to become an imaginative partner in the cycle of creative communication. Godard’s creative intervention transforms the essence of the landscape from physical reality to surreal experience, an illusory world that persuades the audience to reassess the natural proportions of the world by letting their imagination search for alternative meaning. In this process, the viewer is first confronted with the unfamiliar and then follows a route of discovery as the image reveals, bit by bit, familiar elements that finally challenge reality. The shock of the unfamiliar confronts the audience to search their soul and to reassess their place in nature. Interestingly this altered reality has the potential to stimulate a renewed appreciation for the everyday realities that we have become so accustomed to that we accept them uncontested.
Hercules Viljoen – Director of National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN)
My new solo exhibition "Change Your Perspective" at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in Windhoek was officially opened on Tuesday May 16th at 6 pm by Honorable Minister Pohamba Shifeta from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and, well-known artist, Papa Shikongeni.
The large crowd enjoyed the display of the jumbo prints of the altered-perspective images of iconic landscapes of Namibia, images which are part of my new Utopia collection.
The exhibition, which is an invitation for all of us to change our perspective on the way with we interact with the environment and its people.
Similarly to the Utopia collection being an invitation for people to change the way they look at things, the Ticket2Utopia project, endorsed by the Namibian government (MET), will showcase people and businesses who have already changed their perspective in the way they operate. The exhibition has already attracted the attention of the media (NBC, OneAfrica, 99FM radio and several journalists for Namibian newspapers and magazines).
Once again, I want to thank all the people and companies who have contributed to the success of this event. In particular, I want to thank the two guest speakers, Minister Shifeta and Papa, Hercules, Annapaula and the whole team of the gallery (NAGN), Dr Sem Shikongo, Director of Tourism (MET), Hazel of Eco Awards Namibia and Maxi of NACSO, my partner Lisa, my mother Anne, my friend Brenda, Luke and Xanita for sponsoring 50% of the printing on their boards, Rebul for offering 2 cardboard shipping crates, NICE for catering the event, Delheim for the wine, Namibia Breweries for the beers & soft drinks, Namibia Media Holdings (NHM) as media sponsor and Air Namibia for passenger flights and cargo.
Organising an exhibition in Namibia from South Africa happened to be quite a challenge...
One of the first things I did with my children, Enya & James, was to build a 3D scaled model of the National Art Gallery of Namibia. This happened to be very helpful to lay out the whole exhibition on the walls of the 2 main galleries. Then we had a lot of fun when we decided to film a bunch of smurfs visiting the exhibition... see the video Enya & James put together... really great!
As I decided to print the photographs on a sustainable medium in line with the philosophy of the Ticket2Utopia project, boards made out of sugarcane waste by a company called Xanita, I had to transport about 200 kg from Cape Town to Windhoek... 184 kg to be exact!
Rebul Packaging Solutions generously offered 2 cardboard shipping crates made of recycled paper and water-based glue, a great alternative to heavy wooden crate and a product that is fully recyclable and repulpable. On the way back from the Rebul factory, one of the empty shipping crates was lost on the highway... I could not believe it! As there was not enough time to make a new crate, Rebul gave us extra honeycomb cardboard so we could safely pack all the artwork.
On Friday May 6th, Xanita finished the printing of the 52 artworks on 30 boards... but something went wrong and many boards were printed with the wrong profile and were only reprinted on the Saturday afternoon to be delivered at 11 pm the day before taking the bus... so you could image how hectic it was that day until almost 3 am in the morning!
But at the end of the day, amazing team work with my assistant Josiah, my mother Anne and my partner Lisa, as well as incredible commitment from Xanita team, made the almost impossible possible!
I received quotes from different companies to transport the artwork... road cargo... air cargo... but it was really too expensive. I even contacted some truck drivers who apparently could take the cargo for "some cash"... but that seemed a bit too risky!
Finally, the last option happened to be taking the 2 huge cardboard boxes measuring 2.5 x 1.3 m x 30 cm and weighing about 100 kg each on the Intercape bus from Cape Town to Windhoek... Lisa spent 23 hours on the bus, did all the paperwork to cross the border and I drove the 1500 km alone to arrive in Windhoek last Monday morning, just in time to hang all the artwork at the gallery as planned!
The hard part of the job was done when the team of the gallery came to fetch the 2 boxes that just arrived in Windhoek.
Lisa and I carefully unpacked all the artwork which was ready to hang on the walls.
I had a weird feeling of "deja vu" as the exhibition was now looking exactly like the 3D scaled model built with my children... so now we had become smurfs!
While we were setting up the exhibition, the first visitors were very intrigued by the altered-perspective images! Then OneAfrica TV sent a cameraman.
The newsflash on OneAfrica TV gives a good overview of the exhibition and the Ticket2Utopia project.
But the most challenging moment, at least for me, was to be interviewed live on NBC for Good Morning Namibia!
For Lisa, who admirably handled most of the logistics together with Annapaula of NAGN, I believe it was the official opening as Minister Shifeta had confirmed that he would open the exhibition and launch of the Ticket2Utopia project. A HUGE thank to you Lisa!