New art gallery to be launched Friday as Molapo Crossing transforms into a creative hub
Prompted by a desire to increase the visibility of local art, the new Artcase Gallery at Molapo Crossing in Gaborone will launch with an exhibition of local works on Friday this week.
Managed by young creatives of Baagisan Creative Think Tank, the new gallery is an arts residency and coordination structure that is mutually beneficial to the new Molapo Crossing creative hub and the art community.
“Amongst our goals for the art residency is to actively engage artists in the creative process and problem-solving,” said Tumelo Bogatsu of Baagisan Creative Think Tank. “We aim to develop an engaging exchange programme with both professionals and upcoming artist towards a productive work ethic. We also want to provide new arts knowledge and skills to art enthusiasts and specialists while facilitating learning, growth and selling opportunities for artists.”
Transforming into a creative hub
Molapo Crossing Mall is currently being transformed into a creative space without losing the traditional concept of a mall. The space currently boasts a functioning showcase studio and a performance space (Piazza) with more artistic spaces in the pipeline.
The co-founder of Molapo Crossing, Luc Vandecasteele, is of the view that building a creative hub is desirable for Gaborone and that if the country wants to diversify its economy, it ought to involve creative people who can think out of the box.
Said Vandecasteele: “I started conversion of the creative hub sometime last year when a plan was hatched to build a theatre. I had brought drama to Gaborone a number of times and found that support for it was non-existent. To bring three of the best actors from SA with one from Gaborone and attracting a crowd of six Germans and one Motswana was rather disappointing, but it did not stop me from dreaming. It motivated me to make the dream come true. Today we have a theatre that sits up to 120 people and boasts phenomenal acoustics. It has been used as a television studio and we will not rest until it gets fully used as a theatre. To support the dance fraternity, we built two dance studios next to the theatre and those too are still under-utilised. We hope to attract more dance groups and try to make some of our existing dancers famous.”
The plan is to transform Molapo Crossing into a place where they create. Vandecasteele said convincing a bank to build entertainment areas is almost an impossible mission as the entertainment industry is said to be too risky.
“The planned creative hub is our attempt to bring the creative community together,” he said. “By so doing we will be assisting them to meet like-minded people and creating the required synergy to produce new products that hopefully can put Botswana on the world map.”