Veteran artist Qaeqhao Moses Maaramele says it is time artists started using their artworks to educate Batswana about their natural environment.
Maaramele shared this view with Time Out at the recent opening of his latest exhibition, Indigenous Spaces, at Thapong Visual Arts Centre.“It is time we educated Batswana about animals in their natural environment so that they do not forget. We have a lot of people now moving to cities and closer to civilization and my fear is that in a few years we will have children who do not know the names or even images of these animals.”
Maaramele who is a self-taught artist from Ghanzi also added, “We can’t have a nation of tourists or children or Batswana who don’t understand their environment or their animals which is why it is important to show these things in our artworks.” He says with Botswana gearing for its 50th independence celebrations, art needs to also evolve to be more educational.
Maaramele’s works largely depict a variety of the country’s animals in their natural environment and to show these animals, he uses a special print making technique using lino plastic. His works are largely made in black and white and occasionally in color. When answering a question on why his artworks sideline the people in these environments, he says “In Sesarwa culture we do not draw people; instead we draw animals because we understand them better. Already we have many images of people and less of animals.”
The veteran artists who has been one of Thapong Visual Centre’s resident artists currently has his works up at the Visual Center in an exhibition titled, Indigenous Spaces. The exhibition not only features Maaramele’s works but also Dun Lourenco whose works deal more with feelings that define the local landscape and finds a way of creating a dialogue within each piece. The artworks of the two artists give emphasis to the natural beauty of Botswana.