The Thapong Visual Arts centre held a 5-day workshop at Supa Ngwao museum in Francistown, catapulting its efforts to reach out to the Northern Region artists for their exposure.
According to the Coordinator of Thapong Visual Art Centre, Mr Reginald Bakwena, they realized that the North Eastern region has been disadvantaged as the artists lacked the opportunity for exposure. This, therefore and, would enhance their opportunity to share ideas with well established artists from Gaborone.
Thapong Visual Arts Center was established in 1999 to promote visual arts in Botswana. The center develops contemporary arts, helps artists pursue a career in art, hosts artist workshops focused on drawing, painting, pottery, sculpture and print making. The main aim of the center is to encourage community artists to express themselves, be creative in a style and medium which is best suited to communicate with visual language.
“We have realized that there is interest in the North. Gaborone artists have much opportunity than those in the North, therefore, we decided to bring this kind of workshop here for the first time so as to equip these artists with technical skills and help them produce quality art works,” said Mr Bakwena.
Mr Bakwena said that, as the organizers of the workshop, they have acquired the aim of accomplishing development of art in Botswana and the Northern artists have learnt new things from the workshop. He further indicated that Northern artists will also benefit from the Directive of Buying art works that was passed by President Ian Khama this year.
Ms Ivy Radipodi, the facilitator of the workshop, pointed out that the theme of the workshop was Art, Healing, and Social Responsibility to help artists explore some of the opportunities between arts, notions of healing and questions of social responsibility.
“The other most important aim of this workshop was to share with artists how they can use their art to heal as therapy; they can communicate to the communities through visual arts and pass the messages. This workshop started on Monday, and artists were asked to establish body illness, social ills of the society,” she said.
She continued on to say that the artists started on Monday by conducting a research on body illness, and emotions.
“The only challenges we encountered in this workshop was that, among the participants, we only had two painters, but the rest are sculptors. I am still very impressed by the workshop because the artists expressed astonishment that they never thought art would heal their spirits. Their response was very good,” said Ms Radipodi.
Tshepiso Mobeana, participating artist, said that he was overwhelmed by the event because it was the first of its kind in Francistown. He said that he was now motivated because he benefited from the exposure. He also acknowledged the heavy message carried in the theme which he indicated as touching.
“I am very pleased to participate in this kind of workshop because I will benefit from the exposure and get to know other artists. Art is my passion and my way of making a living, so this is an opportunity for me to be exposed. The only challenges for us artists in the North is that we do not have premises to operate in, but at least after this workshop, artist will be motivated to carry on,” said Olemogeng Galethabe, a participant.