Andrew van Wyk was born in 1963 in Windhoek, Namibia. Strongly influenced by the Damara, Nama and Baster cultures and his mixed identity, Andrew van Wyk grew up on a farm in the Rehoboth area. Born into a family of skilled craftsmen, he attended art classes at the Academy, Windhoek. Initially he had a job in a print shop and could only paint in the evenings by artificial light.
Van Wyk uses a wide range of techniques and mediums on paper, but is one of Namibia’s pioneer cardboard printmakers. This technique is very similar to linoprinting but using cardboard instead of lino, requiring significant skill and precision. Van Wyk’s work weaves between reality and fantasy, history and memory, addressing a range of social and political themes including the nature of rural and community life, cultural heritage, education and poverty. The importance of storytelling is clear in his art.
In a number of his works, Van Wyk depicts and narrates the famous Nama leader Hendrik Witbooi — who resisted German rule in Namibia — and explores the ways in which he is remembered. Van Wyk’s grandmother used to recount stories of Witbooi but using his Nama name, ǃNanseb. Currently, Van Wyk is the founder and head of the Rehoboth School of Arts.