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 Biornu2019s artworks
Biornu2019s artworks

Some people can straddle two worlds of art but for locally based American fine artist, Matthew Biorn, he had a little time for fine art during his time in the world of Information Communication Technology (ICT). He studied fine art before embarking on a career in ICT from 2000 to 2012. Mmegi Staff Writer MOMPATI TLHANKANE caught up with a man who returned to the world of visual arts after a long break.

Back in the 1920s, Jean Cocteau put away his paint brush in favour of the motion camera. It was a risky move but he went on to create classics of the cinema such as La Belle et la Bête.

Being an artist who works at home, Biorn’s home is defined by art right from the onset and his works can be seen hanging from the walls and rafters.

He has pushed back the boundaries of art because of the audacity that comes with a background in art. One of the pieces that capture the eyes upon the entrance at his home is the painting of a partially naked woman lying comfortably on the surface of a lake.


In the picture, Biorn used the green and purple colour to portray the natural part of the painting. In the painting the woman is surrounded by lilies and green fishes.

Moving on to his kitchen, there is a painting that looks very real and it displays three elderly women clapping hands for a girl.

The girl in the picture had taken her shoes off to show respect to the elderly women.

The realism is of first-class and it is like the artist had pasted photographs on the painting. Biorn said it is the first painting he worked on since returning to the arts.

The tour continued to his living room where there is an unfinished painting of women in a kgotla meeting. All the women in the painting have megagolwane (mini blankets) on their shoulders and a complimenting khiba (German print).

Though Biorn said it is not yet complete, the headscarves worn by the women make the image so vivid and genuine.

Outside his backyard right beside the pool, there is a shelter and brilliant pieces of art hang there on the rafters. While most of the pieces have been collected from other artists, Biorn also hangs some his work on his weaved brown fence.

One of the beautifully painted pieces of art complements the brown fence and it illustrates a traditional dance group singing and dancing joyfully.

After the tour, Biorn sat down with us and began reminiscing about his journey into the art world. Biorn said he has always done art from his childhood days.

“I did it all the way through my senior school and I got a degree in fine arts. After graduation I never did it until recently in 2012,” he said. Biorn said he was not happy with his job so he decided to leave everything and pursue art on a fulltime basis.

Biorn said he moved back and forth but he eventually returned to Botswana to pursue a career in ITC.

“My job was eight hours a day so I didn’t get to work on anything. I wanted to do what I love the most,” he highlighted. He said his work is inspired by heightened emotions of peace and tranquility.

“Local landscapes and people inspire most of my subjects,” he said. Biorn said it is very challenging because Botswana has a small market for fine artists.

“I market my work in the local community through friends and family,” he said. Having joined Thapong Visual Arts earlier this year, Biorn said he would contest for the Thapong artist of the year award.

Biorn said he has taken his artwork to exhibitions at the National Museum. “I am still building my portfolio,” he said. Biorn said he has exchanged artwork with other local artists.

Speaking about his work, Biorn said that he concentrates much in realism.

“I do flip back to abstract sometimes,” he said. He said that at times he combines realism with fantasy. Biorn said what makes his art unique is that he puts a lot of visual information in his artwork. 

“It gives a viewer a lot to look at. I also hide images in my art so that people can discover the elements after a long time,” he said.

Biorn said the message he puts across is meant to encourage positivity in every aspect. “A lot is happening around the world and my art meditates positive outcomes,” he said. 

Editor's Comment
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