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Francistown Arts Meeting returns

Francistown Arts Meeting returns
The second instalment of the Francistown Arts Meeting will be held from February 17 to 20, 2021 in Francistown.

The visual arts exhibition coordinator, Keoagile Bonang told Arts & Culture that the exhibition will be held under the theme ‘Art Beyond Studio’. He added that the objective of the exhibition is to educate artists on the fact that art is not a mere hobby, but a profession that can be turned into a business.

“Your art should not just end in your studio. You have to go out to market your product and turn that into a business. The workshop will take four days of which three will be an indoor exhibition at Civic Centre and the last will be an outdoor exhibition at Kenneth Nkhwa,” he said.

Bonang explained that the outdoor exhibition was dedicated to raising awareness and educating the community about gender-based violence. He also said there would be a one-day workshop that would take place on the third day of the exhibition.

He also said in the second edition guest exhibitors will include Loretta Mekgwe, Wilson Ngoni, Segolame Kabo and Beuza Kaunda. He said they had registered over 20 artists adding that Obed Mokhuhlani was their curator.

“The first edition went well and the response was so positive. We managed to record 75% of the exhibitors looking at the number that we targeted. And we exhibited 98 art works. Community response was also positive as it was the first event of its kind in Francistown. The attendance was good though we didn’t have any sale of art work we encouraged people to buy local art works,” Bonang explained. Furthermore, he said in their exhibition they had what they call guest exhibitors. Those were established and prominent visual artists and the idea was to inspire the upcoming visual artists. He noted that artists’ interaction with the likes of Ngoni had inspired them. He added that other artists after the exhibition started to explore other art mediums because of the inspiration they got from exhibitors.

Even though they aim to grow the local arts industry, Bonang said they were facing some challenges. Those challenges included funds because their event was a

non-profit-making event. He highlighted that artists do not pay anything but produce their works, register with the curator and present their works to be exhibited.

He revealed that it was a challenge to get funds as visual arts are not that rated in the country as something that someone could eke a living out of. Bonang said it was difficult to convince government departments, parastatals and the private sector to fund them. Bonang also said the other thing was that Francistown did not have venues for such events, so it was always expensive to get a venue and make it conducive for the exhibition.

He stated that the other challenge was that of artists because most of them were still behind in understanding how to package their works for the market or exhibition. Bonang said this year they have the workshop to prepare them for that.

“Coronavirus (COVID-19) affected us just like any other person or event. Due to the pandemic it was hard to get sponsorship. We postponed several times and ended up moving it to this year after MYSC came on board.

The second edition was supposed to take place last year. Our intention is to have some monthly exhibitions and do them as solo exhibitions to support artists who will be ready to run a solo exhibition. We are also planning to have a mural painting campaign that will be a way of making our community familiar with art. The other thing is that we want to take advantage of the new normal. We aim to have some online art lessons and exhibition because at the moment people are getting used to the new normal,” he highlighted.

Bonang said they were not giving up as next year they would be on again. He added that in their third edition they intend to add children’s art lessons and a competition to inspire upcoming artists. Unlike the first edition, this year they managed to add a workshop. The exhibitions are open to all artists across the country, not just Francistowners.


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