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Bridging the gender gap in the world of art

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
They are often referred to as Art ladies or ladies in art but as many Batswana women try to close the gender gap in the visual arts some are hungrier. They do by all means to confront a space dominated by the products of men.

By some estimates, over 80% of visual artists in Botswana are men but a self confessed feminist and talented painter Itumeleng Motswetla said she uses her art to inspire other women and tell her story.

The 19-year-old aspiring engineer said she started honing her skills in visual arts from an early age in her junior and senior secondary school days.  “It was only after completing my form five when I started painting more often but it was for fun at the time,” she said. Motswetla said a wake up call was when she was invited to an exhibition called Fashion meets Arts. She recalls that she started making money out of her artwork.

“Even though I charged low prices my skills were sharpened and that’s when

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I realised that someone can make a living out of art,” she said. The young painter from Palapye said she is doing art part time because the finances cannot allow her to pursue it full time.

She said that most of her artwork was sold and as a result she didn’t have any collection. “Frank The Painter invited me to exhibit in a exhibition titled my story which recently ended in Thapong Visual Arts Center and I managed to exhibit nine artworks,” she said. The young lady who still awaiting admission at tertiary educations institution said she has a dream to establish Botswana’s first Art School.

The artist who credits Wilson Ngoni as her biggest inspiration said her mother encourages her to work hard.

 



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