In order to give upcoming artists a platform to express themselves, Thapong Visual Arts Centre is running an art exhibition called ‘Escapism’ for them. Thapong coordinator, Reginald Bakwena told Arts & Culture that the purpose of the exhibition was just to give exposure to upcoming artists and those who are new to Thapong.
He said they are working together with Empire Arts Consultancy so that they bring in more young people. “We need to create a platform where they critic one another and share,” he said. ‘The theme, ‘Escapism’, has always been explored within art circles for genre and can be traced back as early as 7AD. Relatively artists constantly draw inspiration from their lived experiences to nuance their artistic creations. These expressions could have risen from pains they either experience or witness their communities go through, and through art they seek to escape the harsh realities of day life. Subliminally they often create an immersive space, a new, temporary, and nostalgic dimension wherein the audience is magically drawn towards to escape their own daily worries and gain temporary relief.
Escapism in art thus ushers us to a psychosocial space with therapeutic doses of new fantasies for our troubled souls. Meanwhile, curators of the exhibition, Empire Arts Consultancy has revealed that the advent of COVID-19, with its acute uncertainties, sickness and deaths, spun the ‘real’ world into a chaotic one full of distress as a result loss of loved ones, quarantines and isolations. “Everything spiralled out of control, and we are still grappling with the pandemic as new variants keep mushrooming , throwing us further into a deeper and darker pool of fear, pain, depression and uncertainty. Artists were not spared, as the pandemic affected us all.
They took refuge in their little spaces and created works as distractions from the unprecedented raging pandemic”. Empire Arts added that not only was the effect a psychological kind, but they were and still are economically challenged as they could not get into spaces where they would usually sell their artworks, for the sustenance of their careers and by extension their lives. “As an attempt to escape the economic recession brought about by the mandatory observance of COVID-t9 protocols, they sought solace and painted 'to distract themselves while hoping for sales' beyond the easing of protocols. However it has not been that easy, hence the need to collate their works into an exhibition with hopes of attracting financial gains,” further added the exhibition curators. This exhibition with the current collection on show creates an immersive environment for the audience to find temporary escape from the pains brought by COVID-19 and other social ills.
People have engaged with the works and for a moment got immersed into new dimensions as they converse with each work. There are over 35 works on show, with participation of artists who are at different stages of their careers.
Amongst them are seasoned artists such as Obed Mokhuhlani, Souza Malebo, Totang Motoloki and Isaac Chibua, just to highlight but a few. Some of the names in the gallery include Morolong Modiakgotla with his Colourful giant artwork, Mothusi Tau with Basimane ba pagame ditonki, Mbako Lesetedi, Mmamoseme Matsetse with Wall decoration and most impressively Thebe Tshepo Monyaka with Tribute to the ordinary sculpture.