The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic brought art exhibitions to a screeching halt during lockdowns but now a local group of visual artists have gone all out in the first ever COVID-19 exhibition.
In pursuit of the dream, the exhibition is currently open at Thapong Visual Arts Centre gallery and is also available virtually on digital platforms. The exhibition will run until the end of this month. This art exhibition that was open to artists countrywide is centred on the world’s fight against COVID-19.
On display at the gallery are various outstanding pieces of paintings, ceramics and sculptures featuring frontline medical workers, doctors, ordinary people and metaphorical images of the virus itself.
The exhibited works offer a peep into Botswana’s pandemic containment efforts so far, people’s daily life in the virus struggle, resumption of work and production, and medical support to Batswana. Among the most outstanding pieces in the gallery is talented ceramist Emmanuel Senamolela’s scary representation of COVID-19 called Mad Lion. Corona e na etla e shenne meno is a Setswana expression people often use during this period so the skilled artisan who is based in Kopong’s ceramic piece is devastating as much as it is brilliant in capturing the situation.
Another mind twisting piece in the gallery is Obakeng Molapisi’s Tears of gold acrylic and oil painting that shows a gold teary old lady. Kedumetse Tshidiso’s painting titled Run is also one of the hard to ignore artworks in the gallery.
It depicts a giant eagle chasing children having engulfed others who couldn’t run for their lives. The eagle is a metaphorical representation
Totang Motoloki who has quite a unique trademark is also one of the artists who took the bull by the horns in the painting called ‘Within’. Motoloki likes paintings that depict every day life and his paintings are inspired by sculptures that come out. Mbako Lesetedi’s By The Numbers painting also shed more light through images of aid workers while Tom Ketlogetswe’s painting titled Corona brings calm and relief that this disease will eventually be behind everyone.
In an interview Thapong coordinator Reginald Bakwena said they want to do something during this difficult time therefore they just asked people to submit works that relate to Covid-19.
“We decided to make a online project where we record visuals of the exhibition and post them online.
This is way of making people interact with creativity and so far the participation shows that during the past lockdowns people were working,” he revealed. Bakwena said the COVID-19 exhibition is a build up to the TAYA awards coming later this year. He said he was impressed with the work in the gallery because they explored the messages. “Some of the works are depressing, some are cheerful and some are personal revelations, “ he highlighted. He said if local artists are given an opportunity to express themselves they do their best.