Artist Soft Motshwara has been named the 2018 Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) cover page competition winner, pocketing a P40 000 monetary prize. Coming second was Atang Nkwankweu while Henry Marokane came third. For the first time the event was hosted alongside the Thapong Artist of the Year Award (TAYA) award ceremony. TAYA artist of the year is Obed Mokhuhlani who walked away with a total prize of P45 000 out of which P15 000 will cover the costs for him to go to Namibia for an exchange programme. Sade Rabasha walked away with the young artist of the year award worth P12 000. The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng encouraged the local artists to take advantage of social media in marketing their products. He said as government they always support the arts, spending millions of Pula in them every year. He said ministries always buy artists’ works from Thapong but one thing that the curators have observed is that some the artworks do not match the quality and as such he implored upon them to make sure that their products are of high quality. Thapong Centre Coordinator Reginald Bakwena said the awards continue to show marked improvement and this year’s entries showed that artists are interrogating a wide range of topical issues and daily life situations such as identity, intergenerational conversation, as well as sparking discussions around the meaning of societal attitudes towards topics like masculinity and feminity. “The works from this year’s collection show that Botswana artists are increasingly gaining the confidence to break away from the traditional media and styles to make bold statements with colours and materials,” he said. One of the judges Keatlaretse Kwati said the works in this year TAYA exhibition are exciting, stimulating and challenging. She said categories were fairly represented with most of the entries being paintings. “The artists have demonstrated a high level of professionalism in terms of presentation. Although there are some artists who still do not adhere to the exhibition requirements and guidelines,” she said.