Lukova’s imagery not one to be confined

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Sometime in 2013 Mmegi’s Graphics Editor LESANG MASWABI caught up with visiting internationally renowned Graphic Designer and Illustrator par excellence, Luba Lukova

Lukova, a United States-based artist visited Botswana in 2013 to conduct a weeklong workshop at the art studios of Raising Education Within Africa (REWA) in Gaborone. She had come to facilitate design clinics under the auspices of The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDeF).

The workshop that was themed ‘Draw Me Democracy’ was facilitated through UNDF’s  ‘Poster for Tomorrow’ is the main project of ‘4 Tomorrow’ – an independent, non-profit organisation founded in 2009 - with the  goal  to encourage people, both in and outside the design community, to make posters to stimulate debate on issues that affect us all.

Every year Poster for Tomorrow chooses a basic human issue to draw attention to. In 2009 the focus was on Freedom of Expression, Universal Abolition of Death Penalty in 2010, Right to Education in 2011, whilst in 2012 it was on Gender Equality.


Originally from Bulgaria, Lukova is regarded as one of the most distinctive image-makers working today. Her solo exhibitions have been held at the UNESCO, Paris; DDD Gallery, Osaka, Japan; La Mama, New York; Qbox Gallery, Athens, Greece and The Art Institute of Boston. Her many awards include Grand Prix Savinac at the International Poster Salon in Paris – France; Golden Pencil Award at One Club in New York – USA band Gold Medal at the International Poster Biennial in Mexico City, Mexico. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Social Justice poster portfolio illustrating passionate visual reactions to many of the pressing issues of our time.

Though a graduate from the National Academy of Arts from Sofia, Bulgaria where she attained a Master of Arts degree in 1986, and also a product of Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in United States of America where she obtained a Doctoral degree in Fine Arts in 2008, Lukova does not feel such certificates and qualifications matter much as she contends that it is the natural talent and skill that really qualify one to be a great artist.  A very gifted and versatile artist, Lukova’s work, which continues to be exhibited internationally, ranges from poster designs, book covers to theatre works.   Most of her work is used as illustrations in the publishing industry, especially in newspapers. She apparently owns her own a publishing company called Clay and Gold.  Asked whether there is a particular medium that she specialises in, Lukova says she has not confined herself to any particular medium, but rather does everything that relates to imagery. She would like her work to be easily accessible and constantly be in news.

Her main drive and inspiration that has influenced her work, she says, “it’s basically what happens around me and the world and that’s exactly what my work reflects.”

To her, people are all the same around the world.  “The world has become connected with some artists talented than others irrespective of which part of the globe they come from,” she says. She goes on to emphasise, “Art is a good tool for education and at the same time entertaining people and also leaving them with serious messages through images.” Like many have come to comprehend in the graphic industry,  she says her main objective is to help the public come up with solutions through visual communication.

As she has been criss-crossing the world she has interacted with artists from different backgrounds and at the same time also got inspired and learnt from.

During her short stint in Botswana, Lukova says the native women mat and basket weavers mostly inspired her.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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