The Paris-based Non-profit organisation, ‘4Tomorrow’, recently showcased the top 100 entries in its annual ‘Posters for Tomorrow’ worldwide competition held to commemorate Human rights day ÔÇô first at Alliance Francaise and then at Game City Mall ÔÇô in a year which saw artists from Botswana enter the competition for the first time in its history.
According to the competition’s official website, postersfortomorrow.org, the goal of the ‘Posters for Tomorrow’ initiative is to encourage people, both in and out of the design community, to make posters to stimulate debate on issues that affect us all. The theme for this year’s competition is ‘The right to education’ and two students from Botswana, along with Nicola Holgate, Botswana’s representative for the organisation, had their posters selected for the top 400 out of 3000 entries from around the world.
It all started when, in May of this year, Botswana was one of 12 countries in which a design workshop organised by ‘Posters for Tomorrow’ was held. The workshop, entitled ‘Know your rights’, was hosted by Nicola Holgate and the internationally renowned, New York-based designer, Joel Holland who specialises in hand crafted typography.
One of the two students, 17-year-old Nikola Gaytandjiev of Maru-a-pula, expressed his joy at being involved in an international exhibition but emphasised that what he has learned and the contacts he has made are much more valuable than how far he reached in the competition.
“Before the workshop and entering the competition, I didn’t have many connections in the local art community but now I know a great number of design artists and I’ve also gotten more confident and skilled with my own artwork.”
For her part, Nicola Holgate expressed her desire to begin running similar workshops to the one held at Maru-a-pula on an annual basis and emphasised that the workshops are not just for students but are also open to professionals in the art community.
“All artists are welcome to attend these workshops because it doesn’t matter how skilled one is; the point is for us to learn from each other. There’s a lot that artists who have been working professionally for years can learn from younger artists and vice versa.”
In fact, the 30 participants of the workshop in May were split between 15 Maru-a-pula students and 15 artists from Thapong Visual Arts Centre and the local design community.
The workshop was sponsored by Maru-a-pula school, the Embassy of France in Botswana, Inktech, Artswana, Pick n Pay and National Brands. The exhibitions at Alliance Francaise and Game City were made possible through partnerships with the two host organisations and Ditshwanelo.