SELEBI-PHIKWE: Ronald Lolo Kegomoditswe is among a few artists in the country that have been able to gain recognition and attract international markets through their artworks.
Through hardwork and commitment in art, Kegomoditswe has been able to sell some of his paintings outside the country such as in the United Kingdom, Philippines and USA, while in Africa he has been recognised in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Lesotho just to mention a few.
Kegomoditswe explained that he has been able to access and meet his target market through social media and other marketing platforms.
He revealed that he uses these platforms to share and market his work adding that it has proven fruitful since he was able to sell overseas. He stated that in two weeks’ time he would be sending some to India since they have shown interest.
“It feels good to be recognised internationally, that alone acts as a motivation for me to work extra hard. It’s a pity that the arts industry is not taken seriously locally that is why we get support from other countries but I would be happier if the support begins among our people here. Arts industry is big and can be used to diversify the economy of the country if we invest more on it,” he said. Kegomoditswe said social media especially Facebook should be used for business networking as opposed to leisure. He said most of his business opportunities came through Facebook, adding that 90% of his posts are about his art.
He also cited that he researches on individuals who he believes can assist him in marketing his art pieces. He said his vision is to see his works exhibited in international art galleries. He said he want to see himself living comfortably from making an income as an artist in Botswana.
He explained that he
“The government is trying its best to support local artists by buying their work but that is not enough because not all of us are benefiting. I believe the government should afford us the opportunity to study art at a more advanced level.
“Most of us our academic and artistic backgrounds are shallow; I got an A* for Art although my aggregate marks for Form 5 were low.
“I did not manage to meet the government’s requirements for sponsorship in order to pursue Art at university level, hence the reason I say government should do more and see to it that we are awarded such an opportunity” he said.
The Sefophe born artist outlined challenges he faces, citing that most of the art administrators in the country are also artists so they focus on selling their works instead of promoting the products of other artists.
He also said the tendency of being regarded as a young or upcoming artist for a long time kills their career as it hinders them from accessing other opportunities. Kegomoditswe noted local markets want to buy their products at lower prices something he said disadvantages them, as they have to earn a living from their products.