Archeology student turns to art

Maungo
Maungo

Armed with a degree in archeological studies and a passion for arts, 30-year-old Maungo ‘Blu’ Seabenyane has combined the two disciplines to come up with a unique form of heritage art that depicts Botswana and the African continent.

Seabenyane, a multi-talented artist who has been in the industry for close to 10 years, has managed to establish her own art studio called Art of the Blue. She is into  painting, beadwork, curatorship, costume design, stage props, recycling, fashion accessories and private academic tutoring.

Inside her art studio inside her mother’s garage, are art pieces and artifacts of different backgrounds and origins. The collections include Basarwa hunting bags, African paintings, bottle cap bags, books, portraits, clothing material, customised clothing material and unfinished artwork.

“I am inspired by Botswana and African colour palates,” she said, pointing to some of her work on the wall. As we sat down, she narrated how about she conceptualised the heritage art style.


“While studying archeology at University of Botswana, I took a study leave and decided to do a bit of art which led me to be a resident artist at Thapong Visual Arts centre where I learnt a lot about art”.

Going back to the university to complete her studies, the mother of one kept doing her artwork, slowly blending it with her archeological knowledge until she graduated.

“This form of art is important because it plays a role in educating the young about their cultural and historical practices. In years to come, the customs would have died out, but these art works will still be around to teach future generations,” she said.

She travels much to places such as Xai Xai and surrounding areas where she spends time with locals. “I am trying to promote a sustainable lifestyle there,” she added.

Xai Xai has a rich history as it is occupied by Basarwa, the people who are believed to be the first to inhabit southern Africa. She is planning a tour of Africa to learn about the respective cultures and pick up heritage notes to use in her artwork.

Her art pieces displayed in her studio have two things in common.  They both possess either  African or  Botswana element, especially  the map or the blue colour on the national flag. The logo of her art studio,  is a butterfly motif   titled Be Double You or BW.

“The concept behind that name is that one has to be twice the person they are in order to achieve and the BW part is celebrating the heritage of Botswana. The butterfly’s wings are embossed with the Botswana map painted in blue.

While describing the conceptualisation she kept on pointing at her art works. “I enjoy painting or drawing abstracts of  women, sunrises, sunsets and sand dunes”. In her studio there is also artwork made of recycled material such as match boxes, tissue rolls, coffee jars and bottle tops.

Seabenyane  has exhibited in New York, US, at Thapong and in restaurants around the country. She has also attracted clients from ministries, parastatals, tourists and individuals.

Establishing an art studio is one her achievements because according to her, artists should have their own working area, if they are to grow.

Her other recommendation is that artists should network so that they could help one another.

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