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Exhibition 2005 Jun 8 - July 3

A Few Words of Welcome

Art contributes a great deal to understanding between peoples. Free of the constraints of linguistic barriers, the visual arts - like music and dance - are directly accessible for all to experience. The Munich sculptor Nele Ströbel and her group of fellow artists have made excellent use of the power of the visual arts to unite and have made it the theme of their 'imbenge-dreamhouse' project. What has emerged is a round house, whose basic framework consists of telephone wire. It represents a place of communication, a communal house for encounters which is full of symbolic references and interrelationships.

The content of this project is not just communication and understanding between people from different cultures; the project in fact demonstrates this content itself: this extraordinary work of art has resulted from the communal collaboration of twelve artists from two continents. Each participant from southern Africa and Europe designed and made a segment of the round house, producing an impressive blend of new and old, strange and familiar, tradition and modernity. Thus this art project raises existential questions about human culture and community. In the countries of southern Africa especially, which are developing at such a rapid pace and are characterised by such strong societal contrasts, fundamental issues are being raised which need to be addressed by being worked through and dealt with in art.

As I see it, consolidating cultural ties across continents is an important task. That is why I was delighted to promote the 'imbenge-dreamhouse' project and to be its patron. My thanks go to the initiators of the project, first and foremost to Nele Ströbel, and to all participants for the commitment they have shown. They certainly knew how to set up a 'hot line' between Bavaria and Africa with this work of art. May all visitors to the touring exhibition, which will be shown at several venues in Germany and southern Africa, enjoy it as art because it is so interesting and stimulating.

Munich, March 2005

Dr. Thomas Goppel

Bavarian Minister of State for Science, Research and Art