Barclays bank has brought South Africaâ€™s most prestigious art competition, Lâ€™Atelier, for the first time its 30-year history to Botswana.
This time around, the competition invited young and emerging artists from Botswana to showcase their talents internationally. The five artists selected to compete in South Africa are Incubates Mpolokeng, Obed Mokhuhlani, Kumbulani Thubu, Botho David and Kefilwe Sentsho.
They will join other artists from Zambia, Ghana and Kenya, who join the competition for the first time, to battle it out for the grand prize. Speaking during the Barclays Art Exhibition at the National Museum in Gaborone on Friday, Thapong Art Centre coordinator Reginald Bakwena said L’Atelier has had a significant impact on the lives of Batswana. “ Barclays Africa is privileged to be able to involve our artists in this continued tradition and extend it to young and emerging artists from other African countries,” he said.
Bakwena further applauded the bank for its good gesture emphasising if all the business entities could help it support arts in Botswana that can motivate artists and also help in the diversification of the economy of the country.
He said although President’s Day competitions partake in developing arts and motivating young artists, more could be done. He urged the business community to support arts in the country.
Phillip Segola said art is the only medium that could explain culture and heritage better saying that visual arts tells stories were never told. “African culture can be told by art. We are pleased that Barclays bank is giving our artists a chance to sell the country. That is not all, I want to see one of our artists competing internationally as that will give them the urge to work harder,” he said.
Segola announced that the panel of judges who were also had experience on the field successfully selected five masterpieces from the beautiful pictures displayed in this room.
He said art was not only about the beauty of a picture but its impact on the viewer adding that a picture had to tell a thousand words. Head of Marketing and Communications at Barclays Bank, Rachel Mushaike said art was the forefront of African renaisssance and was a good investment. She expressed delight towards the introduction of L’Aelier competition in Botswana saying that it would give local artists exposure to the outside market.
The competition was known as the Absa Atelier Competition, and in 2002 it changed its name to Absa L’Atelier. In 2015, the competition is now one of the longest running events of its kind in Africa.
It enters another new chapter, as it becomes part of the Barclays Africa fold, following Barclays’ acquisition of a majority share in Absa to form Barclays Africa Group in 2013.
The competition was renamed L’Atelier.
Sponsored by Barclays Africa and hosted in conjunction with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), L’Atelier is renowned for its role in inspiring, motivating and promoting young artists.
The competition has become a much-anticipated annual highlight on the calendars of young and emerging artists who thrive on the exposure their work receives from the countrywide exhibitions and the exhibition catalogue, both of which play important roles in helping to further their budding careers.
Five coveted art residency prizes are awarded to the winners, including the main prize, which is a six month stint at the Cité Internationale des Arts, three merit residency award prizes and the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist which includes a three month main prize at the Cité Internationale des Arts, sponsored by The Alliance Française, the French Institute and the French Embassy.