Two art teachers are hosting an exhibition at Thapong Visual Arts centre in Gaborone, which started last week Friday and ends next week. The duo are Onkabetse Kealeboga a teacher in Gabane and Serowe born George Bagwasi a teacher at Tlogatloga CJSS. In an interview with The Patriot on Sunday, Bagwasi said students interested in pursuing art as a subject enter secondary education very raw because of unavailability at grassroots level. "Students who encounter art lessons at secondary school are often shocked about the quality and beauty of paintings done by experienced artists. By the time they leave junior school it is only then that they are demonstrating skills. There should be books and other material for beginners targeting young kids to teach them about art," he said.
Bagwasi also decried the lack of facilities around the country saying it hampers the growth of art in Botswana. He said their exhibition could be used as a platform for mini workshops for nearby schools who can visit the exhibition to appreciate their artworks.
Further he said the exhibition could break stereotypes that art is for foreigners from abroad and to educate the locals from as all age groups to appreciate the beauty and value of artworks. "Just yesterday I met a 90 year old white woman from abroad at Thapong where she had gone to buy some artworks before she returns to her home country," he said, adding that paintings and other works of art could be used by different sectors of the society including art collectors, for office branding, education, book covers, and arts and culture advertisement.
Bagwasi's interest in art started from a very young age back in his home village, Serowe. He started at Newtown Primary school through secondary school. He later proceeded to Molepolole College of Education (MCE) before joining the teaching profession almost 8 years ago.
Thapong Coordinator Reginald Bakwena says the exhibition is part of their mission to avail artists an opportunity to share their works with and impart skills to the general public. "Members of the public can visit our gallery to appreciate different artworks on display at the centre. Throughout the year we host different exhibitions by an array of artists who are our members," he said.
Meanwhile Thapong in collaboration with Maitisong Festival will host an arts and craft markert on April 25 and 26.