FRANCISTOWN: A young man from Gathwane village has ventured into the lucrative yet untapped industry of visual arts in the country.
Visual arts, which is well known for providing pleasure and creative inspiration and also help foster dialogue in creation of awareness to the public eye, has made Thuto Lobakeng to enter into this industry.
The 24-year-old, who was raised in Lobatse, explained that he does drawings, paintings, murals, pottery, basketry, sculpture and commercial arts.
Lobakeng said that the passion for art came at a tender age and he was once awarded the best student prize in art across the nation while still at Maoka Community Junior School.
Lobakeng added that he was once granted the culture day award after an exhibition at the National Museum in Gaborone while he was still doing Form Three. He disclosed that he dropped out of Botswana Accounting College (BAC) where he was studying Computer Systems Engineering in order to follow his passion for arts adding that he then decided to open his own business called Artistas Visual Arts. The multitalented artist said his business has being up and running since the beginning of 2014 and he once operated from home but has now opened a business office in Block Six, Gaborone in October this year. Lobakeng disclosed that the business is doing exceptionally well at the moment and has many artifacts especially portraits that are normally bought by people who love the message arts conveys.
“I actually had an exhibition on November 7 at the Pop Up show at Bojanala Waterfront and Batswana were so impressed with my work,” he said.
He recalled that while still being a student at Naledi Senior School he was not given the option of studying his favourite optional subject of Art.
Lobakeng said he then approached the head of department who after brief cajoling gave him the green light to study the love of his heart.
He added that his biggest challenge is that most of the biggest companies and hotels in the country purchase artworks from South Africa which does not bode well for local artists.
He revealed that his advantage over his competitors is producing quality artworks, which are also environmentally friendly.
“My business was funded by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) for P100,000 after they realised my potential,” said Lobakeng.
Lobakeng urged young entrepreneurs to consider their passion and follow their dreams.
He said that his dream is to open an art school for students who have talent in it especially those who did not perform well at Form Three and Five and also dreams of owning an art shop.
He indicated that the youth in Botswana should use the opportunity granted them by the MYSC as qualifications alone are not only the shield that one can rely on to succeed in life.