Mmegi Online :: Sbrana-Dichi intrigued by the universe
Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
Sbrana-Dichi intrigued by the universe

Well-travelled artist, Rosy Sbrana-Dichi says she is tired of seeing outmoded paintings of the Big Five and wants to see local artists ooze more of their own creative juices.
By Thato Kala Fri 21 Nov 2014, 13:39 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Sbrana-Dichi intrigued by the universe

The newly-wed artist has seen her work evolve from being emotional and tragic to carrying a bit of maturity.

Having studied art up to Masters level, her new media skills obviously add a lot of sparkle to her work.

While she clearly believes Botswana art has a bright future, she bemoans replication of other people’s styles locally.

“I’m tired of seeing the big five.  I know these are beautiful, and they sell to tourists, who want something with an African appeal,” she says adding, “A lot of artists have a similar style; artists need to find their own identity. It’s what makes you unique”.

The articulate artist, who spent part of her childhood in Italy, jokingly says sometimes you can never know who the creator of an artwork is unless you see the nametag.

For her, she makes art to show people what she is thinking or feeling. But that took a bit of travelling that came with exposure for her to discover her creative identity as it made her ‘become more familiar with who she wanted to be as an artist’.

“It is therapeutic. Art shouldn’t have any rules,” she says.

A quick look through her images on her website show her most outstanding works are done with glitter. The cosmic and dream-like images she produces are second to none.

“I work really well with glitter. Maybe it’s because I’m nostalgic of my childhood. You can make a realistic make by incorporating glitter in your paint,” she says.

 Art lovers will soon witness all that as she plans her first solo exhibition next year, which will incorporate her new media skills.

The Limkokwing Fine Art lecturer is convinced Botswana has caught up on technology but wants to see all that incorporated in art and culture.

She explains: “Botswana art lacks that.  There is a gap in digital arts.  You go to an exhibition and you see paintings, drawings and sculpture and no interactive installations where people can become a part of it. Art can be within any space.”

Perhaps her plus is that she has studied fine art at the University of Cape Town, something she says helped develop a passion in new media.  Her interest was how art is becoming interactive, something that pushed her to pursue her studies further.

 But, of course, like every other young artist, she knew she needed to expand her career options because living off of art in the continent is quite difficult.

“A lot of artists become teachers to make a living. I feared I wouldn’t find a job as an artist,” explains Sbrana-Dichi.

Her frustration when she discovered how difficult it was to be recognised and make a living out of art led to the birth of Lora Arts.

She founded the online archive in 2012 for Botswana based visual artists.  The idea was to provide an online home for works that employ images of fine art and new media.

The website is also part of her efforts to promote the growth of cultural exchange through the creation of events within the local visual arts community.

Lora Arts, in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture, has previously hosted an online competition dubbed ‘Lora Arts Expression Contest’, where artists


promoted their works online.

She explains how she integrated social media such as Twitter and Facebook in its online gallery for the competition, which was a resounding success.

“I wanted to help local artists to improve and promote their works through the media,” she says.

Most artists depend on Facebook for publicising their works nowadays, but the much radical Sbrana-Dichi feels the popular social network does not have a professional look.

The ambitious artist is on the verge of setting up an arts centre and says she has found a small studio space.

She says: “We will have a fully functional studio where we will conduct lessons for those wanting to learn. We will host another competition.”

Her solo exhibition will attest to how she is intrigued by the universe and its beauty.

She assures art followers that they will see some of the works she did during her travels.

She has been to the St Peters’ Basilica Church and also seen some of the Renaissance art works in Italy.

An art residence sponsorship also saw her spend three months in a small village in France, Marine, and she clearly treasures her time there.

“I was fortunate to get that sponsorship. It proved to be a good way to get away from reality and your everyday job. I made friends who are also artists from all over the world,” she says.

That experience taught her different creative cultures and now she wants to travel even more.

It also showed her how much Botswana needs more of that passion and creativity.

 “You see art and culture everywhere. I think I miss that here. It will be my goal to achieve that here,” she says.

She has exhibited in France, South Africa and a digital display of her work in New York seemingly was a proud moment in her life although she could not attend.

Wilson Ngoni, Steve Jobson and Ann Gollifer are some of the artists she admires in Botswana.

Abroad, top American artist Jeff Koons and his fellow countryman Jackson Pollock have also had a bit of influence on her art.

She says of Ngoni: “I admire him because he is a full time artist.  He paints every day. I became friends with him because I wanted him to be a part of our network.”

She reckons sharpening oneself through an arts course is important. 

“There are certain things you have to learn from the world. You can’t be secluded in a village and all of a sudden be able to paint,” she says.

Her hopes are that art appreciation in Botswana will grow as she has witnessed in Italy and South Africa where she did her tertiary education.

Apparently, in Italy art is compulsory as a subject and children learn to appreciate it from a very early age.

South Africa, she says, has learnt a lot from the rest of the world.

 “I’ve never seen so much art anywhere else in SA than I’ve seen in Cape Town,” she says.

Her conviction is that in the next decade Batswana will appreciate arts much better.

Like every other artist in the country, she has noted that their work is usually bought by foreigners, but believes if locals could start buying it would boost the industry.

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