Artists in Namibia use art to promote marine conservation

In southern Namibia, artists are using the power of art to raise awareness about the conservation and protection of the African nation's marine life along the Atlantic Ocean.

The "Waves of

Change" initiative seeks to draw attention to the significant threat that pollution poses within the Namibian Islands' Marine Protected Area (NIMPA). Spanning 9,500 square kilometers, NIMPA is home to a rich marine biodiversity, supporting populations of seabirds, marine mammals and marine industries. Despite being Africa's second-largest marine protected area, NIMPA faces challenges from pollution, climate change and under-resourced management.

To address these challenges, the Namibia Nature Foundation, a local non-governmental organization, launched the NIMPA Plus project in 2023 to support the government in promoting environmental protection.

Disney Andreas, the communications officer for the Namibia Nature Foundation, said that the Waves of Change initiative grew out of the NIMPA Plus project's necessity to safeguard marine life within protected areas by leveraging art to raise awareness of marine habitat loss due to human activities and climate change.

"Pollution and overfishing are also concerns, leading to a loss of biodiversity. Therefore, raising awareness about these dangers is crucial and encourages action to address them," she said.

The art initiative, which began in April of this year, involves 15 artists creating public artwork to make a statement. This includes painting murals at popular sites and other artistic activations in the coastal town of Luderitz.

Paulus Amakali, one of the local artists, believes in the power of art to convey messages to the public and drive social change. "The goal is to create art that communicates the problems of pollution, extinction and the need for environmental protection, helping both locals and visitors learn about these issues," he said.

Andreas said that what sets this initiative apart is the proactive involvement of community members, including children. "We want to create a sense of ownership among the community and address the growing disconnect between society and the marine values of the coastal resources. In the end, we also want to inspire the community to come together and protect the species that inhabit the islands."

Local leaders envision a far-reaching impact of the initiative, aiming to shift mindsets, transform the town's landscape and foster a sense of community.

"The artwork is also a tribute to the fishermen who brave the early dawn, the families that support their ventures, and the young souls who dream of a sustainable future in Luderitz," said Mayor of Luderitz Phil Balhao.