The winner of Thapong Artist of the Year (TAYA) 2016, Thato Nkawana has decided to spread his artistic wings globally thereby enhance the cultural experience of Botswana artists and audiences.
For instance, he recently returned from Philippines where a fellow artist invited him. Though the sojourn was a self-sponsored one, Nkawana managed to create ties between foreign artists and communities abroad.
While in Asia the talented artist achieved his goal to foster international creative exchange and deepen mutual understanding across cultures. In an interview with Arts & Culture, Nkawana, who is famous for his ‘The world at night’ conceptual art said he visited the country to observe how artists execute their artworks.
“We talked with a mall owner there and he agreed to give us space for two days to display our work,” he said. Nkawana added that the exhibition was held in an open space around the mall. Nkawana was quick to say that a lot of people came in large numbers to appreciate African art. “I painted some of the items that represent us to sell our culture in Botswana,” he highlighted.
Nkawana said though the exhibition did not have a name, it was a collaborative event. “I had six artworks. I didn’t take them to Philippines, I just worked on them while I was there,” he said. The avid abstract painter also revealed in comparison to Botswana people in Philippines appreciated art. “They were so enthusiastic and asked me questions about my art work,” he said.
Overall, he learnt about different cultures through visual artworks. “They also paint about their culture just like us but they communicate much better,” he said.
In addition, Nkawana said when he left Botswana he was prepared to exhibit in the outside world but his interest was to observe how art work is done in the Asian country.
Having won a TAYA award with an installation medium before, Nkawana said he is a versatile artist and doesn’t really have a major strength. “I think I enjoy installation art more because I tend to communicate more through it,” he said.
He also believes that utilizing space can work in Botswana. But he emphasized that Batswana have to be taught about the importance of art.