Fine artists were amongst the first to face career disruption and financial loss occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But for local painter, Gofaone Thebeetsile instead of waiting for a tentative lifeline, the visual artist dusted off his brush and began stroking his canvas.
The 32-year-old painter from Ntlhantlhe village resumed his work at his studio space at Thapong Visual Arts Centre where he is currently based.
With a colourful and hard-to-ignore portrait painting of President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the front of his studio, Thebeetsile said it is one of the paintings he worked on during the lockdown. He even admitted that he spent a lot of time on it just to achieve a bit of perfection. “I did a lot of reflection during this lockdown and I was able to do things I didn’t have time for,” he further admitted.
Thebeetsile who does art full-time said he remembers how people used support them by buying their work. But that has changed because of the unpredictable situations brought by the COVID-19. The artist said he might work on
“I do realist art because unlike abstract it is self explanatory and it is the kind of style I have been doing for so long. It’s not like I cannot do abstract but realism is something I have grown to perfect,” he said.
Thebeetsile said he does realism because he could paint cultural subjects that are not easily found these days. “I am trying to bring these back through my paintings,” he said.
The artist also said he joined Thapong in 2008 but only moved to the centre recently because he wants to market his work and also interact with other fine artists. “This has enhanced my experience and other artists have helped to improve my art,” he said. Being a self-taught artist who began art from a very tender age, Thebeetsile said he has taken part in many art competitions like President’s Day Art and craft competitions as well as exhibitions.