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Street art takes on COVID-19 social commentary

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Street art takes on COVID-19 social commentary
Visual arts are an effective way to share an important message because in this time of coronavirus people do not have time to stop for long, so visuals in public spaces allow the message to have the greatest impact.

In the past few weeks, many artists have expressed the disastrous effect the pandemic has on their careers and livelihoods. So to create awareness about the danger of COVID-19 infection, local artists Ronald Kegomoditswe and Prince Tom painted a giant image of COVID-19 virus at The Diamond Square Main Mall, Gaborone.

Kegomoditswe told Arts & Culture on of March 30, 2020 he and Tom decided to spread the message on COVID-19 through art in public urban spaces. “We did a collaborative live painting, we then included another creative by the name of Obakeng Rodney Keitemoge, indicative of the joint efforts we all need to combat the deadly virus,” he added.

Kegomoditswe was quick to indicate that during the live painting in the centre of the city, many people passed by to give them a pat on the back for the great initiative. He said they also gave the audience a chance to throw a few strokes on the canvas because they felt this was a national duty for everyone to spread the message about the COVID-19 monster.

 “Initially, our only wish was to paint a mural on one of the

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spaces around town, and wish one could commission us to do a massive collaborative project that will change the look of our urban spaces. We asked everyone who came to tell others so that we could both transform our spaces into creative cities all the way from Gabs to Ghetto. Together we can make spaces talk,” he said.

Kegomoditswe also revealed that they did the painting on an open space because to them as fine artists social commentary is about street art. “It has impact. It engages, it stimulates and most of all, it decorates the dull building cityscapes,” he highlighted.

The artwork shows large hands with gloves around a globe. The artwork illustrates proper hygiene practices and to encourage people to stay home and respect the curfew with the images of children wearing masks.

Viewers can interpret the painting differently, but the latter offers solace, hope and inspiration with intricacy. The painting goes on to show that it indeed is a catalyst for change. It lies there in the mall to reawaken and highlight the things in our cultures that enable us to survive dreaded COVID-19.



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