Seibeb’s Press Freedom painting featured abroad – The Namibian

Seibeb's Press Freedom painting featured abroad - The Namibian
Seibeb's Press Freedom painting featured abroad - The Namibian

Africa-PressNamibia. Today, in newspapers all over Germany, Namibian artist Rudolf Seibeb’s art
considering World Press Freedom (3 May) takes pride of place.

Recently invited to commemorate the occasion by the German Newspaper Publishers
and Digital Publishers Association (BDZV), Seibeb’s painting is titled ‘Freedom Day’
and compares journalistic freedom with the victorious aftermath of Namibia’s
struggle for independence.
Currently being showcased across a selection of BDZV’s media which includes 286
newspapers and over 600 outlets online, the self-taught, 57-year old artist’s World
Press Freedom Day painting is an exhibit of the artist’s celebrated style.
Known for his vivid, somewhat abstract scenes and arresting compositions centred
around human faces and forms who gather, overlap and exist within and beside each
other, Seibeb creates a vibrant, mostly free community in which the journalist
occupies the lower left corner, their mouth shuttered with iron bars.
While Namibia is celebrated as Africa’s best ranked country in the Reporters Without
Borders World Press Freedom Index, Seibeb, who was mentored on the topic by The
Project Room’s Frieda Lühl alongside a local reporter, understands that various
factors may curtail journalistic freedom.
These factors could include the media’s dependence on advertising, governmental
pressure as well as threats of exclusion or violence when reporting on hot topics
such as politics, failing leadership, fraudulent or exploitative business practices and
The artist represents these barriers through the journalist’s “jailed mouth” or “tronk
mond,” though it is rare that journalists in Namibia will literally be jailed for any
offending articles.
To represent the media, Seibeb depicts a newspaper because, after radio, it is one of
the primary ways through which Namibians receive the daily news. Seibeb himself makes sure to listen to the news each day and rarely leaves his home in Okahandja without tuning in to the reported state of the nation.
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