Botswana’s creative future showcased at national exhibition

Group picture of winners at the 16th National Art, Basket, and Craft Exhibition last Friday  PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Group picture of winners at the 16th National Art, Basket, and Craft Exhibition last Friday PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Gaborone, Botswana’s bustling capital, welcomed the 16th National Art, Basket, and Craft Exhibition last Friday. This year’s theme, “The Creative Industry: Botswana’s Economic Future Redefined,” sets the tone for an event that runs until the end of August, highlighting around 70 pieces of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and the nation’s iconic traditional baskets.

The exhibition is part of the National Arts Festival, a key event offering a stage for Botswana’s artists to present their talents, creativity, and the country’s rich cultural heritage. During her speech at the event, Bridget John, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, emphasised the government’s commitment to bolstering the creative sector. She highlighted that the festival is a pivotal element in Botswana’s strategy to shift from a resource-based economy to one grounded in knowledge and creativity. “The National Arts Festival is crucial in our journey to make the creative industry a significant economic force. Initiatives like these provide vital support to our artists,” John noted. She also pointed out that the festival helps in discovering new talents who might otherwise remain unnoticed. The National Arts Council of Botswana, established in 2020, is dedicated to supporting and expanding the creative industry.

This is achieved through partnerships with the government and local artists. The impact of these efforts is evident, with over 14, 000 artists participating in this year’s festival, covering a wide range of visual and performing arts. Monica Selelo, head of visual arts at the ministry, highlighted the festival’s positive effect on artists’ careers. “The festival has enabled many artists to turn professional. They now sustain themselves and their families through their artistic endeavours,” Selelo remarked. She added that the festival also provides networking opportunities for artists, helping them to connect with potential buyers and collaborators. The festival's timeline began with a registration announcement in February, followed by regional competitions mid-year, and culminates with national finals and awards in Gaborone in July.

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