Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Wilson Ngoni And The Power Of The Brush

For his upcoming exhibition, opening on Thursday 26th May, Wilson Ngoni is paying homage to his most prized toolÔÇöthe brush.  ‘The Brush That Smokes Paint’, a title that somewhat speaks to the synergy paint has with the brush in bringing images to life, is a metaphor for Ngoni’s place in being a medium through which this relationship is expressed. 

“At this juncture I feel as many feel, that my work is the most visible, the most influential in this country hence it’s all coming out like smoke against a blue sky,” he explains to Lifestyle the inspiration behind his latest exhibition. “It’s up to my audience to decide weather by smoking paint it implies a ‘high state’ smoking gives or it means emitting smoke as a chimney does,” he adds.

Through his Facebook page, Wilson gave his art admirers a few glimpses to some of the paintings that will be hanging on the white walls. On initial viewing, the portraits are quite poetic in bringing about a rich sense of Botswana culture, the kind we don’t see everyday; wildlife in its habitat, and the San in their daily musings amongst others. “As I’m travelling in the nether lands of Botswana like Maun and areas around this side, it gives me great pleasures and splendour to share with all my followers the experiences I encounter out here.”

A writer at heart, Wilson says he has since started adding short write ups to explain his creative process: “My style reflects my creative attitude, which deliberately sharpens the contrast between the pictorial world and the natural world but at the same time addressing directly the realistic issues of life.”

Ngoni mentions that this specific exhibition depicts the maturity of his skill as a painter: “My new work shows maturity. I think I’m slowing down on other subjects and focusing on certain things now. As we grow we build at first then we mend the holes for that surface as time goes.”

He likens his art to a ‘visual offering’ to his audience. “My exhibitions speak to all. The work I produce and show represents visual lessons and allegories,” he states.

When asked about what he wants to evoke through this body of work, Wilson says ‘to inspire joy’.  “My work is aimed at contributing to the general happiness of humanity. In every case people see my work their imaginations are stimulated because I give them the opportunity to share directly in my vision as an artist.”

On what painting is to him, he says it is a personal ritual. “Painting is my personal culture. Although visual artists in this state are still at generally the bottom of the pile in every sense of consideration, having gone this far, it’s not a time to look elsewhere but just on these blank canvases and make the most of what appears to be dancing on that white space.

“Ecstasy is that space between me and the brush loaded with paint and the blank canvas,” he muses. ‘The Brush That Smokes Paint’ will be opening on the 26th May at Alliance Francaise from 6pm. The exhibition will be open to the public from the 27th of May to the 14th of June. Wilson’s work has been exhibited across the country as well countries such as Zambia and Ethiopia.


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