Monday, October 26, 2020

Review: Women Exhibit at Thapong Visual Arts Centre

Working with clay in the city conditions is extremely challenging. Dinnlte Mogaleemang and Keabetswe Kanasi went to a special area such as Lotlhakane la Kanye where they dig the clay to use for making pots. They are very particular about the clay they choose; it needs to be the right texture, colour and consistency. They like to use greenish-like soils known as letsopa. They also mix it with red soil know as morago. When fired, pots turn into reddish brown. Once the clay is collected, they cover it with plastic and the following day they pound it. Then the clay is kneaded to make a pot. They have been using the coil methods since 2004 while working at their places at Old Naledi in Gaborone. They did not have a potter?s wheel, any special tools, chemical glazes or electric kiln. The pots will be left to dry slowly inside their studio. During the drying process, they stain the pots with traditional decorations using red ochre and graphite. The firing process is risky because they are not sure if all the pots will fire without cracking. The fire is kept burning for a long period of time. It can take an entire night to fire the pots. Roots and culture are very important to both women.

It has been an exciting interaction for the two women since they moved to Thapong in 2006. Their making of pots changed under the influence of artists. Recently, they joined a group of artists from Thapong Visual Arts Centre and went to South Africa where they were inspired by artists, such as Noria Mabasa. Some of their pots reflected African masks as well as Tswana cultural motifs present in the community. Many of their works showcase our social issues, such as pots which are shaped like a shoe. The pot is titled ?Setlhoko sa ga Kulenyanai?.

The pots depict the social character of man. The new style of making pots is now emphasized in their work. Their work is showing modern influence with a large impact of sculpture making. They are breaking away from the traditional way of making pots by incorporating new ideas which they find fascinating. They acknowledged that being at the Thapong Visual Arts Centre makes them want to know more about the arts world. They have the ability to experiment and try new methods of making pots in order to suit the market. It is very important for artists to change with time in order to be part of the dynamic world. Both women attended a pottery course that was sponsored by the Integrated Field Service, now know as the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA). Both women are also sponsored by the Diplomatic Women Association in Botswana.

The public is invited to their exhibition at the Thapong Visual Arts Centre, opposite the Village Clinic in Gaborone on the April 13 at 1830. The exhibition also features the paintings of Rebecca de Figueiredo. Rebecca has lived in Botswana since 1987 and has been inspired by living so close to the earth. Her flower paintings are a link to earth and address them with the vibrancy they deserve.
?I am coming together with Mogaleemang and Kanasi, who make marvellous pottery to show that women are capable of being both artists of purely decorative work and art which can be used,? Rebecca said.

Living in a farm gives her the serenity to really get down and concentrate on painting and relate well with nature. One thing you will realize is that both women are inspired by nature. This is Mogaleemang and Kanasi?s first exhibition while Rebecca had three solo exhibitions and has participated in various joint exhibitions.

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