Groote Eylandt to Windhoek collaboration by doll makers

Artist biographies

Maria A. N. Caley

Maria Caley is a lecturer at the University of Namibia, who specializes in Textiles and Fashion Design in the Department of Humanities and Arts. Her undergraduate work included Fashion and Textiles which both covered an intensive amount of studio work; where she created fashion and textiles work of high quality with a signature style still in use to date. Her work has been showcased in Australia, Angola, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States of America. Her creative and academic work strives toward changing the narrative and creating textiles and fashion that reflects the Namibian culture in the hope of creating a Namibian identity. Her research interest is in fashion created out of Africa, the formations and transformations of African fashion. Her MA thesis title A study of Vakwangali traditional clothing for fashion creation in Namibia had explored traditional clothing of Vakwangali and transformed ideas from it into modern fashions. Caley has contributed to a book chapter Intertwined Histories: 150 Years of Finnish–Namibian Relations, where her chapter explored the entanglements between trade cloth and indigenous crafts. Her resent involvement with museum projects has created interest in research work that engages the archives and practice. Caley is currently involved with the Museums Association of Namibia, which has spearheaded and facilitated the making of Museum of Namibian Fashion.


Loini Iizyenda

Loini Iizyenda is a fashion and textile lecturer at the University of Namibia, with an MA in Sustainability in Fashion from Esmod Berlin University of Arts for Fashion (Germany). Her research area focuses on the symbolic representations of elements in the pre-colonial traditional costumes of Aawambo people in Namibia and formation of the contemporary cultural identities. Her article related to this research is titled The impact of Finnish Missionaries on traditional Aawambo dress featuring in the publication called Intertwined histories-150 years of Finnish-Namibian Relations. Iizyenda’s doctoral studies explore the symbolic connotations of the metal beaded ornaments. In practice Iizyenda explores product development using prints inspired by traditional ornaments and sustainable design strategies such as Upcycling and traditional handcraft techniques. Loini Iizyenda was an active advisory committee member, responsible for facilitating the establishment of the Museum of Namibian Fashion.

Tuauoovisiua Betty Katuuo

My name is Tuauoovisiua Betty Katuuo, I am a passionate and creative visual artist who seeks to create a unique personal style and an important brand within the local and global art scene. I grew up in an African village called Onderombapa, which is part of the Aminuis district in Namibia. I earned an advanced diploma in Visual Art and a bachelor of arts-Honours focusing on Fashion Design and Textile Studies at the University of Namibia Windhoek, Namibia. My subject matter is the Ovaherero handmade fabric/cloth doll. My closest companions used to be these handmade fabric dolls; we did everything into my childhood memories. Consequently, deciding on this theme was a way for me to reconnect with my childhood memories, preserve a significant cultural artefacts they are no longer produced. Fabric is the medium I use to make my artworks/dolls, and I aim to utilize recycled fabric or fabric offcuts as much as possible to recycle and reduce waste.

Uatunua doll

Artist: Tuaovisiua Betty Katuuo Title: Ombopi- Uatunua Year:2023


Ndapewoshali Ndahafa Ashipala is the Director of the Museums Association of Namibia. She has worked for the Museums Association of Namibia, a civil society organization in the field of heritage, arts, and culture since 2014. She also serves as MAN’s in-house graphic designer and exhibition curator and therefore liaison for the over 30 member museums and the communities they serve. She is a strong advocate for the socioeconomic development of the country and the preservation, documentation and decolonization of the Namibian historical landscape and cultural heritage. Her portfolio consists of, inter alia, research and content development, curation and design, museum and exhibition development for permanent and mobile exhibitions, guidebooks and training manuals, and other publications for Namibian Museums and Heritage Arts and Culture professionals, students, and learners.

Iain G Johnston