The opportunity to participate in a Mentoring Workshop Program at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town, South Africa, was a dream comes true for Ray Gare of Thapong Visual Arts Centre. Gare is one of the young artists who want to be heard and intends to make a difference in the development of contemporary art in Botswana.
One would agree that emerging artists are vulnerable at this stage of their professional development because without support and encouragement many may reconsider art as a second option. Thapong Visual Arts Centre, with its networking in other countries, recognizes the need to encourage such young artists.
Gare’s desire to expand came as a result of an educational trip by Thapong Artists to Johannesburg, South Africa, in February this year. To achieve his objective for the growth of artistic career, Gare started to look for opportunities in Southern Africa, especially South Africa.
Fortunately, he managed to get a chance to participate in a Mentoring Workshop in Cape Town. This venture was very important for him to advance his artistic knowledge. According to him, there is a need for artists to interact because they can share their experiences. He pointed out that he had benefited a lot from the expertise.
The Mentoring Workshop was designed for artists to develop strategies in marketing, presentation and preparations of portfolio, art critiquing and development of art in the region. During the workshop, he was also given time to produce artworks with other artists at Greatmore Studios.
Presenting his artwork to other artists at Thapong, one could see significant changes and improvement in his work as well as the way he now handles presentations. His work has changed; he is now experimenting and this is giving his work the value it deserves. It breaks the traditional definition of what constitutes art. He has further developed in freedom of expression and that makes him not to consider formalities. His work is stylish but easy to read.
He had an opportunity to attend a presentation by Estelle Jacobs, who is a member of the Association of Visual Arts in Cape Town. Their course covered computer training. He managed to learn a lot on the method of presentation to the audience. There was an exhibition at the end of his training that was organized to demonstrate the skill from the workshop. Above all, the exhibition offered them an opportunity to market and to develop new contacts as well as networking with other artists and audiences.
The workshop also focused on the development of professionalism, such as keeping records of artworks. According to Gare, one should know who collects their artworks because clients may come back to see your development. It is also important to be aware of the level of artwork the gallery takes before one starts making an application to avoid disappointment.
Gare encourages artists to travel in order to appreciate what is going on in the world around them.