Wednesday, January 19, 2022

New art gallery adds lustre to an already classy i-Towers

The latest addition to the Central Business District (CBD) as it continues to swell with new state-of-the-art buildings is a brand new art gallery on the 19th floor of the i-Towers, currently the tallest building in the country.

The gallery is strategically placed on the highest floor of the building to capture the ambience of the city’s skyline, an absolutely breath taking view at night.

Generally, Batswana’s knowledge and appreciation for visual and fine arts is still at a relatively infant stage which explains the industry’s lack of prominence. Very few people consider it, let alone buy it.

But the director, Sophie Lalonde, plans to change all that.

“I believe art is very important, it’s a form of expression and with this gallery I intend to inspire a higher level of appreciation for visual arts.”

She says the gallery aims to also promote local artists and give them a platform to showcase their work. “I am constantly looking for local artists willing to exhibit their creations,” she says. “There are so many up-coming artists worth recognition.”

The gallery exhibited an incredible range of spellbinding paintings and sculptures by both local and international artists this week on Thursday.

Locally renowned painter, Uhuru Kgope’s colourful and eye-catching artwork was also on display. It does not take much for a Motswana to immediately identify with his paintings; they always seem to resonate with the evolving Setswana culture and everyday life.

One of his notable paintings on the night was an oil on canvas painting displaying an old lady with a wall of green sunlight soap bars behind her, simply titled ‘Brought me up’.

The most notable international artist was undoubtedly South Africa’s famous John Meyer. He has exhibited consistently in the United States, Europe and South Africa, developing an international profile that few African artists have achieved.

It is no surprise that he has become a court painter for the rich and powerful. His subjects include Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. Meyer’s paintings just scream class.

If Thursday night’s exhibition is anything to go by, the Sophie Lalonde Art gallery promises to provide a fresh and classy perspective of Gaborone’s visual arts industry. Despite some paintings’ relatively incredible price tag of up to P315, 000, Lolande is quick to emphasize the gallery is open to everyone.

“It’s not just about buying. It’s about viewing and admiring the incredible creations of the artists,” she says.

She is working in partnership with South Africa’s Everard Read Gallery.

“They will be providing paintings and sculptures for display here in Gaborone,” Lolande says.

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