No, what you see Tuelo Pule holding in his hand is not one of those “happy moments’ pictures that come with your brand new picture frame. It is in fact an incredible piece of pencil drawing that won the 24-year-old artist a first prize award at the 2015 national President’s Day Competitions.
You would be forgiven for mistaking some of his work for actual black and white photographs. The Tlokweng-based artist fell in love with the art when he was at primary school.
“It’s as if the first time I got my hand on a pencil I just couldn’t stop drawing,” Pule says. He continued with his love for drawing at junior and senior secondary schools where he got to sharpen his craft in art classes.
To some measure Pule got a lot of inspiration from the talented Wilson Nguni who he attended with at Moeding.
“I came across his paintings on the walls of Moeding College and looking at the way he has transformed since then has been quite an inspiration to me,” Pule says.
Initially Pule only drew as a pastime and it was only when people began taking notice of his work that he considered making a living out of it. “The sudden interest from people gave me motivation to take my art seriously. I have had people handing me their own pictures and asking me to transform them.”
Pule, now with Thapong Visual Arts community, hopes to submit some of his work for Thapong Artist of the Year 2016 awards.
Although he does mostly people’s portraits, Pule says he has decided to step out of his comfort zone and draw landscapes. He has also fallen in love with another form of art, photography.
“I bought a brand new camera with the prize money I got from the President’s Day Awards.
In the meantime, give him a pencil and a piece of paper and it shall result in a beautiful illustration. Although he has not really perfected his skill yet, Pule manages to capture almost every bit of fine detail in the images he creates. Although it does not pay much yet, Pule says he can at least pay the bills.
Thapong Visual Arts Centre: The Thapong trust was formed in 1989 and established the Thapong Visual Arts Centre in The Village in Gaborone in 1999 with the aim of promoting visual arts in Botswana.
The Centre, among other thing, develops contemporary art, helps artists pursue careers in art, and educates artists through workshops focused on drawing; painting, sculpture and print-making .The centre strives to encourage the community and aspiring artists to be creative, discover means of self-expression and to portray messages by using visual language. Thapong is a membership organisation.
Members meet and interact primarily during at exhibitions and workshops. Thapong is the home of a number of local artists. It also runs workshops in different disciplines such as drawing, painting, sculpture and crafts every year. This is mainly done with financial support from the business community and other donors.
In these workshops, professional instructors are invited from both inside and outside Botswana
Artists who participate in these workshops are encouraged to give feedback on their experiences to their communities through working with teachers, children and through their own work. Thapong has been successfully organising international workshops since 1989. In May 2015 Thapong started operating a caf├® at its premises. The caf├® will allow visitors to relax and enjoy the art environment at Thapong.