Art on the roadside

SHARE   |   Sunday, 12 April 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Mokgeledi Mokgeledi PIC: RICARDO KANONO

The art industry has been growing incredibly well in the country, with the government having stepped up artists’ empowerment by recognising them and procuring their wares. Though there are museums and galleries where artworks are exhibited, some still choose to take their artworks to streets where they can be easily accessible.
Veteran visual artist Christopher Mokgeledi, who does original art paintings, said he decided to take his artworks to the road sides because that has proven to be working for him. He said though some of his artworks are at galleries and the museum, he has realised that the selling of those is very slow since many Batswana do not visit galleries. “When I am by the road sides I think many people that pass with cars can see me, so that is why I choose busy roads,” he said. He believes that his paintings shouldn’t be in a confined place, but rather out there for people to see, appreciate and buy. He said that he has always loved displaying his art outside even though people don’t buy all the time. He said despite that they do take his contacts and can come back and buy when they have money or call to inquire if he has many other pieces that they can buy.
He said he left his full-time job 12 years ago to concentrate more on his art. Though selling artworks is not easy since Batswana are not really there yet, he believes that he has achieved a lot of things through his work. Mokgeledi said last year he took second position at the Presidential competitions in painting, and he has also had an opportunity of representing local arts in Ohio, USA in 2010. He said the government and parastatals are his key clients and called for more support to the local artists and their work since it is not everyone who will live off a university degree. He said most individuals who appreciate their work and buy it are the foreigners as compared to locals, saying that even when he is by the roadside he has realised that foreigners are the ones that stop by frequently. He advised fellow artists to stop relying only on the government but rather look for support from different organisations and private companies. He referred to patience as the only thing that can make it work for artists because artworks don’t sell like fat cakes.

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