One is often looking for those things that can surprise, that can awaken a complacent gaze. This could take place in many forms such as new production, techniques, challenging subject matter, or materials deployed in new way. To some it is about introducing to an art audience forms of expression that sit comfortable in the art arena.
Art lovers will witness the play of colours, and liberation of expression by two veteran artists, Velias Ndaba and Mokwaledi Gontshwanetse in the Octagon Gallery of the National Museum Monuments and Art Gallery on the 1st May, 18:30hrs. Their friendship dates from their life at Mzilikazi Art Centre in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Both artists have long history with Thapong Workshops dating back the 80s. They have influenced young and upcoming artists in Botswana. One needs to acknowledge them for their contribution to development of contemporary art in Botswana. Ndaba is the former coordinator of Thapong Visual Arts Centre.
Having an opportunity to visit their studios, one will need to strike a balance between their style and forms of expression. They are both original and reject the classic way of making a painting. There is an expression within their artwork. The language is clear and makes artwork speak to the audience. The applications of colour are making the act of painting its own subject. Their artwork is poetic.
There is emotional expression in their subjects. Both artists’ work reflect the power of reasoning in our society. They communicate with originality in both thought and artistic expression. Their painting encourages a dialogue between the audience and the artwork. Both artists describe the cultural situation we are now assuming to inhabit. This is depicted by a painting of Ndaba titled: “Kgarebe ya Gabane” which depict a beautiful girl from Gabane Village. According to him, he was experimenting his techniques, messages and subject. He uses earthy colours with the addition of blues and red. The light which reflects on face of the girl court attention.
Behind her there is a traditional hut which symbolizes village life. Her hair looks long and attractive to the viewer. One may describe the painting as new technology and scientific discovery to leading the world to a more social and practical liberation of women. It also narrating the story that there are beautiful girls in the village who can compete with the ones in the city. Or it is a wake up call that guys you are missing, there are beautiful girls waiting for you. In his theme colour is also used in the social construct of reality.
Another interesting painting is titled, “Traditional Spiritual Glazing”. The women is meditating with the ancestral spiritual asking for her glazing sin.
“The Moment Of Silent” is the third that will be features at the exhibition. According to him the painting depicts dark days and light moments. It shows that life can be dark and one day God will bring light to you. Gontshwanetse’s artwork defined traditional view of women in our modern day society. It concerned with the desires and aspirations of women. His work emphases and engages the audience to communicate with colour. Yellow is dominated in his paintings. Some of his paintings depict the life of a prostitute.