Art can contribute to the country’s GDP- Bakwena

  • Thapong Members Exhibition opens
  • We still have a low turnout of women artists – Bakwena


The coordinator of Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Reginald Bakwena, at the opening of the two week long Thapong Members Exhibition pleaded with artists to give their art pieces their all and show the world as well as the government that art can contribute significantly to the country’s GDP.
Bakwena says they made sure that artists produce masterpieces for the country’s biggest art competition, Thapong Artist of the Year Awards (TAYA) by hosting members exhibition to critique and learn from their mistakes.
“This year TAYA is slated for the first week of November and we always look forward to the best works.   Members Exhibitions are important because that is where we are trying to build artists without judges before TAYA. We highly advice artists to participate in these exhibitions,” he said, adding that by producing the best works artists can prove that artworks can contribute to the country’s economy.
He added that their, “aim is to prove that we can make careers out of art. Decision makers are influenced by figures and if we can be able to show them the figures we can even come up with subjects in art and ask for scholarships to do more research.”
Bakwena also emphasized the importance of taking the arts industry seriously and closing all the gaps that weaken the craft. He says most artists do not participate in members exhibition and usually aim for TAYA which should not be the case. “When judges come and look at your final work, you may think you have done your best but they may discredit it because of the little mistakes you could have corrected on members exhibitions which gives artists insights on what really makes artworks competitive. This in turn discourages artists,” he said.
Moreover, for TAYA, Bakwena says judges always talk about craftsmanship, which entails how an artist handles their works and there is great emphasis on the issue of researching to build concepts. “I can see an impressive progress on todays exhibited works. But I would like to emphasize more on the issue of research, ask yourself how you can make your works impactful. If you are interested in a certain subject do your research, find inspiration but do not copy anyone’s works because there is copyright,” he advised.
He however mentioned that their major concern was that there was a low turnout of female artists who should be as competitive as their male counterparts. Commenting on the changes added to this year’s TAYA Bakwena said their catalogue will this year only feature the best participating artworks and not all submitted artworks in the past.