Thapong Visual Arts Centre will not host the coveted Thapong Artist of The Year (TAYA) BTC Phonebook cover design competition due the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said all of their sponsors were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and they are at a recovery stage. “As we are all aware, COVID-19 restrictions made everyone cautious on spending money. One of our sponsors, MYSC, did not even host the President's Day competitions and this also affects us,” Bakwena added. To address the situation, Bakwena revealed that Thapong is organising a curated exhibition by the end of the year to make up for this. He said the date will be communicated to artists and the latter are encouraged to continue working hard towards this exhibition. Bakwena also said TAYA will be held early next year. “We also request people’s contribution, assessment and feedback on Thapong awards.
Our door is open to receive comments and advice. Let us build the creative industry together,” revealed Bakwena who is also a board member of the newly established Arts Council. Bakwena indicated that not hosting TAYA this year will also give them an opportunity to assess the competition and get positive feedback from the artists in order to improve it further. “As Thapong, we will be presenting a high value exhibition at the beginning of December 2021. This will be an open themed exhibition and artists are encouraged to be as creative as they can possibly be. This will be a curated exhibition and only a selection of the best works will be on show.
Artists are thus encouraged to engage a professional approach towards their creative processes,” he added. The absence of the awards after such a torrid 18 months for the creative industry is a big blow for the visual artists. The winner of the phonebook cover competition usually walks away with P50,000 inclusive of the exchange programme. The runner-up would win P25,000 while the third place winner gets P15,000. The TAYA winner also gets P50,000 inclusive of the exchange programme while the runner-up walks away with P30,000.