Thursday, February 22, 2024

Maun artists exhibition brings colour to Nhabe museum

Maun’s Nhabe museum was a hive of activity as artists from all walks of life came to exhibit their various artistic works. Categories on display included pottery, ceramic works, art by freehand, painting, bead work as well as photography by a host of Batswana youth, all amounting to thousands of Pula.

The display was easy on the eye, but the chairperson of Okavango Artists Association, Ompatile Sebuelo, said they had travelled a rather rough road to be where they were today. Financial constraints made their journey almost impossible.

He said their display, commonly known as the annual members’ exhibition, was formed with about 20 visual artists, who have since doubled in number. Now there are 40 individual members and four corporate members, all of them dedicated.

Started in 2011, the exhibition has grown tremendously, not only in the number of participating artists, but also in the improved quality of work at individual level.

Amongst the things which led to their achievements was their partnership with the Southern Africa Environmental Programme (SAREP) which facilitated their recent drawing and painting workshop, a successful, well attended event.

“As an organization whose main interest is to expand visual arts in Ngamiland, we have already carried out critical activities aimed at making us achieve all of our planned projects. We have a team of devoted young artists, who always show the willingliness and desire to learn more for the betterment of their lives-this we are very grateful for and want to encourage as much as we can. My only appeal is for the business community and individual members of the public to assist the association by buying our art works and offer the much needed support of sponsoring our many activities. Our other wish is for government to avail places where we can operate from because as it stands now, most of our artists work from home, which therefore makes it a bit hard to penetrate markets,” he said.

The event’s guest speaker, Communications and Public Relations Manager at Mascom, Barbra Tshipana, also commended the success of the exhibition, which she said is one of the many initiatives they support at Mascom.

She said they have also supported the My Star project, My African Dream, the annual Thapong artists of the year award, the president’s day concert, to mention but a few. As a leading network provider, Tshipana said they work hard at ensuring that Batswana jealously safeguard their rich heritage and culture, as it has also become evident that they can make a significant contribution to the improvement of the lives of both the young and the old of this country. She urged the public not to be only inspired by the artworks, but to also learn to read the messages that the artist try to send through art.

“As an important component of our corporate, social responsibility initiatives, we aspire to use art as a platform to fully engage with others in the same industry, as well as to give back to communities around us. We also see art as a valuable aspect in our lives as it does not only act as an education tool, but also plays a major role in addressing issues that not only concern the artists, but communities at large. Art is universally compelling, and has the ability to cut through languages and cultural differences. It also touches hearts of all people regardless of age, race and status, which therefore calls for a need for our aspiring artists to be encouraged more than ever.”

Former Miss Botswana Juby Peacock, who is also a member, serenaded the gathering with song and dance.


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