Leonie Barton recently spent a month traveling alone in Namibia, south west Africa where she took 2700 photos. Inspired by the graphic landscape, the photographs will be exhibited later in the year with a percentage of the profits going back to Namibia to the “Tears of Hope” orphanage Leonie visited. We are delighted and honoured to give our readers a sneak peek at Leonie’s striking collection of the Namibian landscape.
In late 2012, I spent a month traveling alone, along the coast of central Namibia. It is a vast and harsh country but beautiful in it’s emptiness. I had the luxury of a vehicle so I could drive where I chose, only to be limited by where the sand dictated. As a lone white woman, I would have to pick my destinations carefully, although I only twice felt nervous or threatened and on the whole the Namibians are lovely. Depending on who you meet, they are hungry and they are poor, but they are strong and they are busy just getting on with life to survive. The coast is shrouded daily in a fog that rolls in off the cold Atlantic and I was in a constant state of undress and redress as I traveled. I learnt to start my mornings with many layers that could be peeled off as I ventured the tiniest distances inland. It was nothing to go from 13 degrees to 50 within an hour. I have been in remote areas of the world before but I had never experienced such a feeling of aloneness. However, I never felt lonely and in fact I felt an immense freedom knowing that I would quite easily travel 1000 kilometres in a day and quite possibly not see another car.
Before returning home I was fortunate enough to spend time at a small orphanage, the “Tears of Hope” in Mondesa, Swakopmund. As an artist I had brought with me sets of pencils to give the children, as a way to connect. How very “first world” of me. The children could neither eat nor wear the pencils, not to mention, the lack of paper. I have returned with many stories and photographs in the hope of presenting an exhibition in order to raise funds for the orphanage.
About Leonie Barton
Predominantly a self taught artist, Leonie began exhibiting in 2005. Within that year she had been hung as a finalist in the Willoughby Art Prize, Woollahra Art Prize, the Toyota Community Spirit Award, the Churchie Emerging Artist Award and invited to exhibit in the prestigious annual ASX/Reuters Art Auction (06, 07 and 08) and the St Augustines Art Show. Since then Leonie has continued to exhibit with several group shows annually. Avant Card selected Leonie as the featured artist in 2007 with a print run of 20,000 cards distributed nationally. Leonie went on to open Art Depot (art supplies store) which she then sold in 2010 to resume her studio practice, after an extensive camping trip through Europe with her family. In 2012 a solo trip through Namibia beckoned, from which the artwork and photographs will form an exhibition in 2013 to raise funds for the orphans in Mondesa. Leonie now teaches privately from her current studio which is located in Avalon Beach, Sydney.