No TAYA and phonebook competition this year

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 PICS: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
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 PICS: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

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.

Every year around this time, Thapong Visual Arts Centre in collaboration Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Limited Foundation, would have opened entries for the BTC Phonebook cover design and 2020 Thapong Artist of The Year (TAYA) competitions. The TAYA is open to good standing Thapong members residing in Botswana while the phonebook cover is exclusive to individual students from all junior and senior schools. Thapong coordinator, Reginald Bakwena revealed that they will not host the two events due to the slow response from sponsors.

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.

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