Fine artists will get another reason to be enthused after Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Foundation increased the prize money for the winners of the annual Thapong Artist of the Year awards (TAYA) and BTC phone book competition.
Last year’s best TAYA was worth P45, 000. It has now been increased to P50, 000 while the phonebook cover prize increased from P40, 000 to P50, 000. The second best TAYA award was worth P25, 000 and has been elevated to P30, 000. The phonebook cover second prize and third prize which were worth P20, 000 and P10, 000 respectively also got a P5, 000 increase each.
Announcing the good news to visual artists this week, the deputy chairperson of BTC Foundation Board of Trustees, Dr Baagi Mmereki said the overall sponsorship for the 2020 competitions is P416, 600. He said the amount would include prize money, administration fees, training and development.
“The sponsorship covers the BTC Phonebook cover, TAYA, training and development of art teachers. As part of the package, artists will also be sponsored to attend workshops and share skills with an array of established professionals from across the SADC region. The arrangement would ensure that local artists gain international exposure and widen their scope,” he highlighted.
Dr Mmereki said the aim of the sponsorship and partnership with Thapong is to grow and promote the local visual arts and it has been running for a couple of years.
“In 2018, the Foundation found it prudent to have a formal agreement with Thapong to develop the visual arts at grassroots level and monitor the progress. The foundation signed a three-year partnership with Thapong Arts Centre at a total of P1.7 million to advance the arts and culture sector on Botswana,” he recalled.
He said the phonebook competition will be targeting youth in schools, whilst TAYA awards recognise all artists at national level to encourage them to earn a living through art. He also announced that the phonebook cover competition 2020 carries the theme ‘BTC at 40’ and is open to junior and senior schools only while TAYA awards are open to artists nationwide.
To which BTC General Manager Transformation Kutlo Mokgosana quipped: “It is thus fitting that our theme for this year is ‘BTC at 40: Tapping into our intellectual wealth.” Mokgosana also said they have made an undertaking to plough back a percentage of their profits in support of initiatives which positively impact communities and help uplift the lives of people.
Breaking down the guidelines of both the TAYA and phonebook cover competition, Thapong Visual Arts Centre director, Reginald Bakwena said they discouraged plagiarism amongst artists, especially students.
“We need works that are original. Referencing and copying other people’s works is not allowed. Guidelines for the competitions will be available online,” he said.
Bakwena also said the size of the submission for the phonebook cover competition should be A4 and the theme should be clear.
“As for TAYA we allow a maximum of two artworks per artist and the artworks should be presentable and ready for display,” he highlighted, further announcing the deadline for submission of both competitions as November 3, 2019.