As a form of feedback before the Thapong Artist of the Year awards (TAYA) and BTC phone book competition grand finale on November 21, the main judge of the competitions recently invited artists for a presentation at Thapong Visual Arts Centre.
The judge, Kenneth Chulu who is an artist from Zambia, told the artists that areas such as sculpture, photography and conceptual art are still lacking.
“For those to improve, you should look at the technical aspects such as narrative. We need to learn more about writing our artworks statements because that is crucial. Sometimes people lose out points because they could not link what is physically presented with what is written,” he revealed.
Chulu said another grey area is the sculpture because there were not so much entries in the category.
“There is so much comfort in drawing and painting. That is good, but artists must learn to explore other opportunities based on what they find around them.
“Us as Insaka International artists Trust, we have been running workshops since 2003 and one thing we incorporate into artists’ minds is to become resourceful,” he highlighted.
Chulu encouraged local visual artists to break away from the studio practice, especially when they come across international workshops like Insaka International artists workshop.
He added that he understands some artists are passionately attached to their studio practices, but that they should also consider a wide range of choices.
“That develops your practice. There is an element of fear of trying something new. You need to try what you consider as a strange medium and
Chulu was quick to advise artists to be comfortable with their creativity and apply it on any material.
He said artists should learn to use foreign objects because it is very important. For his part, Thapong Director, Reginald Bakwena encouraged artists to produce more conceptual art.
“We have to be conceptual in order to be part of the world. We need to develop it further by improving our work,” he said.
Bakwena added that artists from other countries get commissioned to do conceptual art and they are making a lot of money. He encouraged more collaborative work and new ideas from the fine artists.
“We want something that is thought-provoking. The art that is in the gallery for this year’s TAYA is very good but we should drive more towards conceptual art,” he highlighted.
This year’s TAYA and BTC phone book competition grand finale will be held at Thapong Visual Arts Centre where the best TAYA and the phonebook cover prize winners will walk away with P50, 000 each.
The second best TAYA award winner will get P30, 000 while the phonebook cover second prize is worth P25, 000.
The awards are sponsored by Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Foundation, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development and Botswana European Union Technical Cooperation Facility.