Thato Nkawana scooped the coveted Thapong Artists of the Year Award (TAYA 2016), beating other 77 artists to walk away with P35 000 cash prize. Using mixed media Nkawana titled his work piece ‘World at Night’, depicting a woman’s dress in a mosquito net with a fan at the bottom blowing the dress in the net. By looking at it someone could be able to tell that the artwork had something to do with women and the challenges that they face in the society, Nkawana revealed that is exactly that he wanted to portray. “The artwork communicates as to how bad women are treated in this world; the double standards that are put on them and the abuse that most go through,” he said. Nkawana said it is up to everyone to interpret the art piece anyway they like but through his artwork he managed to show the bondage of women not only in Botswana but in some parts of the world.
Acting Thapong chairman Mesh Moeti said they appreciate how Thapong has been changing lives and hailed the partnerships they have had in the past with companies like DTC Botswana, FNB and others. “There have been unequivocal returns in this place and now it offers a professional working space for artists and a refreshing place for those that want to come and see the arts,” he said. Moeti said they aim to make Thapong more self-sustaining. One of the judges Dan Sibanda said they were looking for visual impact, interpretation, creativity, composition, viewpoint, whether it is stimulating and the quality of finishing. Sibanda said they awarded people who were bold and who took risks. “We wanted the artworks that talked to the audience and we wanted them to challenge the commonly held perspective with innovative thinking and aim to raise awareness about social issues,” he said.
zThe Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Kefentse Mzwinila encouraged artists to produce works that will put Botswana on the map. “We will rather have young people here drawing and painting than have them somewhere else doing things that are not good on the streets to fulfil themselves,” he said. Mzwinila said that they should be aware that through their artworks they can be able to attract investment into the country. Other winners of the night were Abednico Sechaba in crafts and painting, Gosaitse Nthoiwa in graphic design, Bakang Baloi in photography and the Young Artist of the year Omphile Sefhako walked away with P12 000.