On the evening of Thursday, 13 November 2014, Steve Jobson unleashed his latest creations to Gaborone’s visual art enthusiasts. While the lights of the city flickered beneath everyone’s feet, eyes glistened with emotion against quizzical brow expressions as people attempted to decode the work. In his exhibition aptly titled “Another Year”, Jobson journeys to quench the insatiable thirst one acquires once exposed to his artistry.
The exhibition features 35 original artworks which track Jobson’s return to painting. He said “It’s been a whole year of constant work,” adding further that, “you can’t just whip it up… it’s a process.”
This process was born from an agreement made in 2013 between Jobson and Sophie Lalonde- owner of the Sophie Lalonde Art gallery located in the iTowers building, in the new CBD. It could be said this exhibition is a godsend in that the gallery has only been in existence for just over a year. The title is not only a celebration of life, but also pays homage to persistence and longevity.
“People have been very supportive” says Lalonde, “I mean, look at this!” she adds directing my attention to the swarm of people who are standing in clusters and draped on sofas on the Sky Lounge premises.
“Steve and I met and selected the dates for the exhibition last year, and I’m very happy that we got to make it happen” chirped a beaming Lalonde. The audience for the exhibition’s official opening is a sign that perhaps Batswana are finding their way to visual art appreciation.
Equally as impressive as the artworks, was the presence of young Batswana who seemed to have decided that the art wasn’t to be the only thing on display. The correlation between fashion and art was definitely noted as photographers tripped over themselves to capture shots of fashionistas appreciating Jobson’s approachable, yet multifaceted artworks.
In “Another Year”, Jobson brings together a somewhat biographical collection of what he calls “self indulgent thoughts”. His artist’s statement begins with the words: ‘There is no coherent theme in this collection of work; so no grand statement of intent.’ In a very Steve Jobson manner, he sat comfortably and gave each well-wisher time to speak to him.
Those who have been exposed to Jobson’s work will testify that the man’s touch is unique. Though there is thematically no marriage of expressions or subject matter, there is a consistent display of honed artistry and deft workmanship.
Aldo Brincat- the last local artist to showcase at the Sophie Lalonde Art gallery with his ‘Foreign Nationals’ (Ma Rok) photographic exhibition- called Jobson’s work “Extraordinary! Simply extraordinary.” Another viewer commented that it was “interesting to see a new side to Steve”, showing that he certainly has a local following.
Jobson is the Head of Art at Maru-a-Pula School and has produced phenomenal artists under his tutelage, including Meleko Mokgosi who exhibited with him in 2007. It has been two years since Jobson gave viewers work to consume, but now he says he’s gladly “back into painting.”
The works range from Oil on canvas, to Oil & Enamel on canvas, to Watercolour & Enamel on paper. The titles span from matter-of-fact, such as ‘Etiquette’- a large Oil & Enamel on canvas piece that addresses table manners- to abstract social commentary, in the case of: ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’- a Watercolour on paper piece showing a scene from an African coastal fishing village, depicting poverty whilst juxtaposing it with the implied meaning of the title and placing the scene in the silhouette of a man’s head.
Jobson says the process of working on this exhibition has been “about experimenting with different methods and trying out new things that I’d thought of once before.” For those who have seen his previous works, it is evident that Jobson is moving into a new dimension of himself and his artistic expression; proving that you’re never too young or too old to try something new.
The exhibition runs at Sophie Lalonde Art gallery, on the ground and 19th floors of iTowers in the new CBD, until 31 January 2015. Whether you are passing by, or purposefully venturing to the gallery, this exhibition is worth indulging in because Jobson says it will be another two years before he presents new work.