Ismael Shivute was born in 1988. This was the year before Namibia became an independent nation. From early childhood he enjoyed making toys for himself and his friends from found materials. He became an expert at making wire cars which he and his friends would race endlessly across the flat sandy areas around their houses. They would also spend hours in the dry season making clay oxen in the dried out water pans called “Oshanas” which in turn formed part of complicated games involving miniature cattle-posts and communities. Shivute completed his schooling at Onesi Senior Secondary School in 2006 and the following year attended a short art workshop in Outapi. This encouraged him to apply to the College of the Arts in Windhoek the following year to study Product Development in the Department of Visual Art and Craft. He completed the three year diploma course in 2010.
“As an artist I am only inspired by my environment, recycled or used materials and the feel of things made by hand. I attempt to inspire those who look at my work with my innovation, creativity and the practicality of the methods I use to make the work. I feel that my art reflects a unique Namibian identity, as well as my own identity as a young artist struggling to survive in the world. I always make use of recycled and found materials, mostly metals, cans and wires because they are locally available at no cost, but also because they reflect a distinction that I admire. This distinctive character is partly to do with the previous life that materials had, its lovely rusty colour, malleability and also the texture make the artworks come to life and give them a wonderful sense of humour. My subject matter is often the survival of some people in the informal settlement in Windhoek, in which they live in a small and harsh environment. ” (02.06.2016 - 02.07.2016) (Text: National Art Gallery of Namibia)