Article by alumna Gina Figueira published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies

MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies graduate Gina Figueira has recently been published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies, with her article entitled ‘That horse will never rise again’.

An adaptation of her MA dissertation, Gina’s article is an exploration of narratives around the iterations of the Reiterdenkmal statue in Namibia. It contributes to broader discussions about the problematics of visualising heritage linked to oppressive and colonial regimes.

Following an undergraduate degree in Fine Art from Rhodes University, South Africa, Gina graduated with an MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Leeds in 2019.

Prior to undertaking her MA within the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Gina worked as a curator at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. In 2017, Gina co-founded StArt Art Gallery: an independent art gallery specialising in contemporary Namibian art.

Since graduating, Gina has continued to work with contemporary Namibian artists while also consulting on various projects that combine visual art and heritage in Namibia.

‘That horse will never rise again’ explores the case study of the Reiterdenkmal statue commemorating German colonial soldiers in Windhoek, Namibia. While the original statue was removed in 2009, a replica was privately commissioned and placed in a restaurant in Swakopmund, Namibia in 2019.

The article looks at this re-iteration of this statue in terms of narrative theory, settler colonialism and authorised heritage discourse to contextualise it in terms of a history of genocide in colonial Namibia and the continued legacies thereof.

As a case study, it shows the ways in which a German (settler) colonial narrative in contemporary Namibia persistently places itself as an authorised heritage discourse –narrowing the platform for a multiplicity of voices and continuing to marginalise and oppress in the visual memory landscape.

Photograph of Gina Figueira

Gina Figueira said:

“I hope that this article can add to the existing discussions around visualising heritage, particularly at a time where, across the world, statues and their relevance are being questioned when they pay homage to oppressive regimes.

“I think some of the most interesting questions when it comes to visualising heritage is: firstly, what does it do to the memory landscape; and secondly, how does this affect contemporary life?

“This article is an attempt to work through those questions through a specific example in the Reiterdenkmal.”

Will Rea, Senior Lecturer in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, said:

“It is great news that Gina’s work is being published in the peer reviewed International Journal of Heritage Studies.

“The dissertation definitely deserved a wider public. It raises important questions about the place of colonial and post-colonial monuments and their afterlife.

“Supervising Gina was a great reminder that our students often teach us as much as we teach them.”

‘That horse will never rise again’ can be viewed online on the International Journal of Heritage Studies website through Taylor & Francis Publishing.

Images

Replica statue inside the courtyard of Die Altstadt restaurant. Photograph by Helen Harris, 2019, Swakopmund, Namibia.
Photograph of Gina Figueira.