The Free Handed exhibition is taking place at the Frame Gallery and was officially opened on June 20, 2007 by the National Museum Monuments & Art Gallery Principal Curator of Art, Philip Segola. The exhibition showcases fifteen paintings by Ephraim Rapalai.
Rapalai is young, energetic and creative. He has good colour expression. His artistic approach is distinctive from that of other artists, reacting against the formalities of making artworks, Rapalai’s artistic approach is breaking away from modernism practice.
The artworks can be seen as a rejection of purity of truth in terms of art practice. Furthermore, his artworks question the formal properties that are made universal hence he felt liberated from the hierarchy of “high” and “low” art culture. His artworks question mythology of art making from modernism, which assume that art is universally the same if not created a model of making it. The paintings reflect that the truth can be tested and one can come up with rational decisions when producing an artwork. This is a good part of creativity because it destroys the idea that art should be realistic or easy to interpret. Rapalai’s originality kills relevance and, as a result, encourages taste from the viewer.
By taking a walk in the Frame Gallery, one will realize that the young man has diverse methods of painting. There is an element of growth in his artworks. He explores with the medium in highly conscious ways, tapping from such issues as social and economy, which concern us. Though he has a good construction of colour, he may also need to study from other artists whose paintings are dominated by colours. The exhibition is interesting because it reflects a transformation of art making.
His dominant colours are green, yellow, brown, orange, purple and red. On the left hand of the gallery, there is a painting which caught my attention, titled: Afro Gro. It has an element of Picasso’s inspiration. The artist embraces social themes of everyday life in the villages of Botswana. The painting Afro Gro, depicts a contemporary village thrust into purple, green and light of midday impression.
The painting reflects a village scene with an abstract figure with a big head and round eyes. Next to the figure is the head of the bull on the left hand side with an exaggerated noise. There is planted sorghum on the right hand side.
In the back ground, there are two huts with a green sky. His composition works well with his imagination. The artist manages to squeeze different objects in one place. The painting depicts a postmodern style. He breaks away from the formalities of making art by not considering proposition and placement. He is original. However, the purple overshadows other colours in the painting.
The other interesting painting is the one with traditional pots in which he was innovative with the idea and colours. He uses orange and brown.
Above all, Mr Rapalai is significantly showing growth. There is a technical development from his previous artworks.
The exhibition will be on for two weeks.
Another up coming exhibition to watch for is the Diva’s which will be opening at Thapong Visual Arts Centre on the July 6, 2007 at 1830hrs. The exhibition will showcase the artworks of three women who are currently studying fine art at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
The three women artists are Keatlaretse Kwati, Ivy Radipodi and Ngozi Chukura. The women intend to give back to the country by getting involved in the male dominated field. They are willing to contribute more towards the development of contemporary art in Botswana.
They believe if artists can work together and share ideas it would add value to the fine arts in Botswana. Radipodi and Kwati are more into prints and paintings, while Chukura uses a new medium of digital art that is not popular in Botswana and it will be an honour for her to introduce it here. Video art properly suits the dynamic world of today. The exhibition is worth seeing. It will run for two weeks.