Gatsby: Artist cum Political Activist

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 26 June 2019   |   By Bakang Tiro
Raven Gatsby Raven Gatsby

Local political activist artiste Raven Gatsby says his political art pieces dubbed “ The Democracy of Self’’ communicates to stimulate a political change in tackling number of concerns that besiege the society in the modern day Botswana.

In an interview, Gatsby said his art concept came out as way of being a voice for the voiceless in a society that is marred by unemployment, high income inequality and poverty, whereby the rich get richer while the poor remains even poorer.


The Democracy of Self art exhibition has been open viewing and sale at the national museum throughout the week from Monday to Saturday.

He said although Botswana is a democratic state, a lot has still to be desired under the circumstances that faces the nation.


Consequently, he said the politicians who are in power or those aspire to be in power tend to take the deplorable situations for granted.

“The Democracy of Self art is just meant to demonstrate the injustices that continue to plaque some of us in the society. There is a lot of suffering for our people who cannot be able to stand up and share their grievances, “he added.


According to Gatsby, political activism through art has the power to effect change by holding those who are in power to turn around the situation.

’’ Art doesn’t just grab your attention, but sends a message, it makes a statement and resonates,” he declared.


One of his pieces of art under the Democracy of Self is Gaborone being referred to as the Capital City of India. 

Gatsby said that the art refers to a high capitalism that the Indians continue to enjoy in the economy while the locals turn to be beggars more especially in Gaborone.


He stated that the “Statue of Patriotism’’ will be a focal point where a certain group of people will come out together to demonstrate their grievances.

’’ This sculpture is a piece of art I am working on and will turn out to be a freedom square for societal grievances. In Botswana at the moment there is no specific centre or area where people can demonstrate their complaints peacefully,” Gatsby declared.

However, he expressed concern for some of the local medium channels who doesn’t support or recognise political activism art.


“I have extended so many invitations to the media such as on art galleries I had hosted before. Therefore as part of stimulating change within the public television I have done this art work called incoherent struggle about Btv so as to label the station as being classified due to its unfairness,”he charged.

He concluded by calling on other local artist to venture more into political activism art noting that a huge art still exists in this political art space currently.


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