At Thapong Lourenco and Senamolena’s exhibition is an ode to resilience

Fragile memories are recorded on canvass for the viewer to take a peek into another world while a dung beetle that never loses its precious possession through hostile terrain is about resilience in this time of a relentless pandemic, writes GOSEGO MOTSUMI

Art enthusiasts are in for yet another treat in the vibrant art pieces that are currently on display at Thapong Visual Arts Centre, thanks to two great artists. “Doorways to the Past” is what Dun Lourenco calls work from his recent past over the last few years while Emmanuel Senamolena’s body of work, titled “Pathways,” tells the artist’s journey in ceramic art.

“In this body of work, I look at the fragility of memories and the importance of cherishing them,” Lourenco told Time Out. “The work consists of both small and large oil-on-canvas paintings. There are landscapes of precious places in Botswana and South Africa.”

Lourenco has painted the images in door or window sizes to give the impression that the viewer can take a peek into another world. Every piece represents the doorway to a memory, giving the viewer the impression that they can step through this door into a happier memory. “Each holds an important emotion or memory for me,” Loureno explained. “I hope this emotion can be portrayed to the viewer though the dramatic colours and my lush impasto brush strokes and dynamic compositions.

“In the past year, many lives were claimed by the pandemic and I was often unable to come home to Botswana, leaving me with a heavy sense of longing for home. I believe this has made humanity more aware of how important relationships are and enhanced the value of our freedom to visit beautiful places. I invite the viewer to see various special places through my eyes, which are supported by the fantasy of freedom.”

Some of the works speak of sorrow, which is something that the world can universally feel during this time of an unrelenting pandemic and loss. The paintings are smaller than the artist’s previous works because Lourenco says he travelled a lot over the last few years and had to find canvases that could fit in the spaces that he inhabited.

As a ceramic artist, dung beetles have always inspired Emmanuel Senamolena. He goes into ponderous reflection when he see a dung beetle roll its dung ball through slants, steeps, tiny passageways, marshy patches and rocky surfaces without letting go of its precious possession. This artist remembers that as young boys, he and others used to try to disturb the beetle’s work and pattern by even kicking the ball away but the dung beetle would always struggle to find its ball and carry on in its work.

“The longer it rolls this ball, the stronger the ball becomes,” Senamolena told Time Out. “In my ceramic art life, I have been through struggles and lots of challenges but have never let go of my God-given talent. “Like the dung beetle, I have struggled up steep hills, through muddy swamps and long complex pathways but I hold on to my talent tightly with my hands so as not to lose it as I go to a comfortable destiny.”

His body of work chronicles his journey in ceramic art, the wounds on the beetle resembling his struggles with his work. “I am still in a frying pan with my work because this pandemic has altered my path over the last two years,” he said. “But I shall always keep my head above the water and I hope that this work offers some hope to people as they struggled through this pandemic.”