The Gaborone District Office held the official opening of the regional artworks for President Day Competitions 2016 on Wednesday at Thapong Visual Arts Centre. Guest speaker Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete urged participants to go far with the craft even if they do not win. She said it is important for everyone who takes part to understand that the purpose of the competition is to diversify the economy through artworks. She recognised progress made by the President competitions since inception eight years ago, saying many Batswana lives have been changed. “Quality and quantity of work done has really increased. There is increased participation and awareness of culture,” she said, adding that there is no doubt that arts have the potential to improve cultural tourism in the country.
She encouraged the artists to understand that this is potential for them to establish businesses and show their skills because resources have been set aside so that they can be empowered. Seboko said at the same time it is very important that they do quality works so that consumers can get value for their money. One of the judges Tom Ketlogetswe said some of the artworks were exceptional but others had to be thrown away because they did not meet the requirements. Ketlogetswe said they were looking at artwork that is eye-catching, its originality, conceptuality and craftsmanship. He said one thing that they have realised is that most local artists lack creativity. “This brings in the issue of copyright and you guys should refrain from copying other people's artworks because you will attract lawsuits,” he said. The artists are competing for the big title of being the best in each of their categories around the country after the President Day Competitions finale. The night was made even better by KTM choir serenading the crowd with the popular songs that celebrate Botswana.