In their continued efforts to promote visual arts, Thapong Visual Arts Centre held their 9th annual Thapong Artist of The Year Awards (TAYA) at the centre on Friday, December 6th where local artists were awarded prizes in recognition of their work.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said the competition presents a platform for artists to share skills and ideas.
He said Thapong has been a pioneer in the development of artists and has been working with the ministry to share artistic skills with young people.
“As a government we must promote the Arts which is why the government is doing its part to assist by building a studio. I trust the support of DTC will encourage the outside world to assist as well,” Masisi said.
Diamond Trading Company (DTC)’s Kago Mmopi said the company, which has been working closely with the centre, aims to inspire creativity and innovation through the arts.
“We believe the arts industry, if properly managed can contribute to the economy and help to alleviate poverty,” Mmopi said. “We envisage the new centre we are building will help generate income and become a successful exhibition centre.”
Soso Mweendo of Collegium Botswana, also a big sponsor of the arts industry, said as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program Collegium has over the years set aside a budget to help sponsor artists.
“Our relationship with Thapong Visual Arts Centre dates back to 2010 and our dedication has paid off,” she said. “We are not going to look back.”
Thapong Coordinator, Reginald Bakwena, said since inception in 2004, TAYA has become one of the most popular art competitions in Botswana.
“This competition challenges our members to be better artists. We expect our artists to be innovative, keen observers of their society, and ultimately create works that help us to interrogate and interpret what goes on around us.”
Bakwena said as the management of Thapong, they are happy that the entries show improvement each year.
“However, we also realise that there is a lot that still needs to be done. It is in this regard that we are working on a programme for seminars and workshops aimed at imparting skills to artists.”
The prizes were awarded in eight categories with Phenyo Moalosi, Phemelo Ramasu, and Segametsi Kebonang of Daily News scooping media awards .Ogopoleng Kgomoethata ,also from Daily News, also got away with Photographer of the year. Young artist of the year, sculpture, went to Gosego Motlogelwa while Ompatile Seboelo was the overall artist of the year walking away with 30┬á000 pula in prize money. Special recognition was also given to past winners Uhuru Kgope and Thato Kgomele who were awarded certificates.