Fenced in by barbed wire, the Independence Memorial Museum remains unopened to the public.
I don’t think any photographs of the new Independence Memorial Museum in Windhoek have been posted on TE before. For those of you who have been to Windhoek, this now stands where the Reiterdenkmal (see http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Africa/Namibia/photo1418387.htm) used to stand, just across the road from the Christuskirche (see http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Africa/Namibia/photo1418581.htm ) and in an area where most of the significant colonial buildings stand.
Known as the Coffee Percolator or the Molar Tooth, the building has caused upset among many Namibians. Costing in excess of N$100 million , construction began in 2009 and 5 years later the museum is still not open to the public although the official opening took place in March 2012. The museum is one of three national sites, (State House and Heroes Acre) built by a North Korean construction company, Mansudae Overseas Projects. The government has paid an estimated N$3 billion, including hidden costs, to the North Koreans in the last ten years. The Koreans use their own artisans, employing unskilled local handymen and only pass on a little of that money to local sub-contractors. In a country with high unemployment and a lack of affordable housing is it any wonder that the impoverished get fed-up?
The public and some opposition parliamentarians have also questioned the ethics of awarding the job to the North Korean company when no tenders or public consultation or parliamentary discussion took place.
Anyone interested in reading more on this should check out the following link http://mg.co.za/article/2013-04-26-00-north-koreas-deals-in-nambia-a-mystery
Another bone of contention is the design of the museum. Acclaimed Windhoek architect Jaco Wasserfall commented that the Asian designs being constructed in Windhoek “make(s) architectural references that are completely foreign to Namibia, its people, culture and history,” More can be read here http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?id=28&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=71814&no_cache=1
This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2013. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system
Critiques | Translate
ACL1978 (7467) 2013-05-18 9:08
Looking at the shot I wondered what could be so controversial, but now that I've read your note this really does seem like a mess. A real shame that the government chose to go this route; was it initially a cost-cutting measure?
It's especially sad given that the museum should be a real celebration of all that Namibia has achieved, despite the many challenges. While it does seem to be a rather unique structure, I can see how its completely foreign design would make some angry.
You've done a beautiful job with this shot, using a deep contrast and B&W to convey the controversy. A perfect POV with the gleaming building inaccessible through the old fence. Thanks for the really informative post.
PS - my apologies - I seem to have hit my critique limit for the day!
krzychu30 (15344) 2013-05-18 9:18
leaving aside the political aspect of this Museum,or generally of this project I must say I´m really delighted to see such masterfully B&W treatment.Just love how the silver shades contrast to almost entirely black looking sky.Magnificent monochrome treatment and excellently chosen POV with the fence in the FG,which takes on a new meaning after reading your note.
Wish You a pleasant weekend
Romano46 (16580) 2013-05-18 9:37
complimenti! Uno splendido bianco e nero del genere che a me piace molto con i cieli quasi neri ed una infinita gamma di sfumature.
Bello anche il soggetto ed eccellente la ripresa che permette di ammirare al meglio ogni dettaglio.
Un ottimo lavoro del quasi essere fiera.
Ciao e buon fine settimana
rogerl (1544) 2013-05-18 9:44
Rosemary, a fascinating note. Having read the articles, I can understand why the country is up in arms over this, but still, why the barbed wire? Are they afraid of vandalism, or have they just not committed to keeping the monument? Very strange. In any case, this is a nice capture of the scene, appropriately in black & white. The whole tone of the shot is rather forbidding, between the fencing and the darkened entrance. Thanks.
manrezaei (1837) 2013-05-18 11:22
Very nice shot. Great exposure, superb colors and lights you captured here. Very well done.
holmertz (37663) 2013-05-18 11:35
From a strictly photographic point of view you have done a good job with the conversion to B&W with very good tones and contrasts. From this distance I couldn't tell whether this is a tasteful monument that honors the Namibian nation, but the barbed wire is decidedly strange. I my be totally wrong, but it sends signals of a government alienated from its people, going from one dependance to another. I remember from Zimbabwe in the early 80's when I was looking for postcards and the only ones I could find showed the interiors of metro stations in Pyongyang!.
Silvio1953 (116861) 2013-05-18 12:11
Ciao Rosemary, I like this architecture, lovely B&W, splendid light and wonderful clarity, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
mesutilgim (80576) 2013-05-18 13:12
Very nice b&W capture with perfect graphical effect.
Many interesting and usefull notes makes your entry a perfect TE job.
TFS and have a nice weekend
gojo (1715) 2013-05-18 15:49
Great use of BW, perfect gray scale, good framing.
Royaldevon (26815) 2013-05-18 16:04
I wondered what was so controversial and after I read your notes, I thoroughly understood, also, why you used B&W.
There must be a lot of discontent about a building that neither reflects the culture of the native inhabitants, nor offered any employment to needy workmen. It is amazing that Governments can still spend monies without consultation ... vast amounts of monies!
Your photograph certainly shows a very modern building, very space-age in its style and not one that I would normally associate with the African culture.
Have a great Sunday,
dkmurphys (46964) 2013-05-18 21:51
Attractive POV that makes this modern facade a true UFO. Good graphical choice, your idea is very nice.
Enjoy a lovely day.
ifege (10201) 2013-05-18 23:38
Hi Rosemary - no wonder it has been controversial. You've taken a good B&W photo with great contrast to bring up the shapes and tones.
adidas5nb (4498) 2013-05-19 0:07
i like the exposure in this pic.highlighting the white and shiny parts.great shapes and pov.like the wires in the fg.
timecapturer (45633) 2013-05-19 3:47
despite the controversy, this does look like an impressive monument. Your conversion to B&W is perfect at bringing out the detailing and precision here. Powerful imagery, I like it - the image NOT the politics though.
Enjoy a peaceful Sunday - Brian.
snunney (79973) 2013-05-19 3:53
Sounds like a case of political shenanigans or ineptitude at best. Black and white suits the subject perfectly, accentuating the graphical lines and calming down the harsh reflections. Very good rendering of the detail.
Noel_Byrne (21434) 2013-05-19 4:39
Reading your excellent note, I can see why this building is the source of annoyance and frustration> The raggedy fence in the foreground adds to this really well, and gives a sense of desolation, which is strange for a building so new. I think B&W is an excellent choice for this imposing place.
Despite that, and despite its being out of character, I do still quite like the building. It kind of reminds me of the type of structure one would see in a science fiction movie, maybe some sort of government of the futures head office. The sun in the centre seems to be a very prominent marker. The light glints off it so well though.
It is a sad fact in this world that there is so much corruption and underhandedness that goes on in building. I've posted before about the Priory Hall apartment complex in Dublin, and that is only one of many examples we have in Ireland of the same kind of carry on. People come, build rubbish and flee with the money. A very sad state of affairs.
That this building is built so close to that beautiful church is a travesty in itself. Thanks for sharing, have a great Sunday
marabu61 (7443) 2013-05-19 6:25
While the architecture of the building is modern and beautiful, it still has a forlorn mood to it grace to the barbed wire.
I can quite understand that the local people and industry is quite upset about the koreans to build this. Unfortunately it is always the small people that are in dire need of work, that suffer the most of globalization and pure profit thinking.
have a good sunday
williewhistler (12733) 2013-05-19 13:30
Hello Rosemary,judging by your exposure settings this must have been a pretty bright day, so to convert the image to the foreboding BW required a deal of imagination and some clever PP work.
Your interpretation of the situation paints a disturbing scenario.
The image itself has a nice symmetry with a decent range of tones.
Best regards Les.
tyro (18884) 2013-05-19 16:30
You have given us a very comprehensive and interesting note as well as some very worrying facts about this place and the financial implications of it. I am not at all surprised that the people of Namibia are less than enamoured with the fact that they have paid N$3 billion to the North Koreans and, to me at least, the whole matter sounds as though it smacks of corruption. Is that what is felt in Windhoek?
Your black and white photograph conveys a feeling of starkness, especially as the foreground is dominated by a high barbed wire fence clearly designed to keep out the very people who have paid for this place. Your lighting is superb, presumably because it was taken in late afternoon when the sun was low, and I love the reflected light on the shiny metal canopy above the doorway.
Fabulous strong contrasts, lovely reflections, perfect exposure and exquisite sharpness.
A perfect, if controversial, upload for TE!
annjackman (18153) 2013-05-22 6:56
Your note tells a sad story and the b/w picture suitably illustrates it. There is an interesting juxtaposition of the shiny surfaces and the barbed wire.
Best wishes, Ann
p.s. a short critique as Holly is trying to help me!
bayno (18342) 2013-05-22 8:51
Ciao Rosemary, very strange bulding, i don't like so much, futuristic architecture is also nice....but this one i have to think about ;) anyway i prefer this one more than colors version....your B&W tractament is really fantastic...great range of tones and a wonderful contrast....super nice work and reportage....
adores (34736) 2014-07-16 17:26
Guess the problem is the same in most part of the countries. In Senegal there is a huge monument that costed a fortune in such a poor country, not to mention what happens here, in my country!
It's a good shot of the building, I like the light and the b&w. The fence in front also tells a lot!