“Ballad of a Butterfly” 

Visual artist Prince Tom mounts a solo exhibition as an ode to his late mother whose flowers drew butterflies to the garden that he tended as a lad. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports

In collaboration with the Grand Palm Hotel in Gaborone, visual artist Prince Tom recently hosted his annual solo art exhibition, “Ballad of a Butterfly.”

It marked the second edition of the annual event and stood out as an ode to his late mother, Khumo, who introduced him to art when he was just six years old.

Tom seemed to capture the sum of this filial impartation in the mot juste of his description of the exhibition as “a spiritual conversation between a son and his late mother” in an interview.

A love story

It served as a way for him to keep the memories of his mother fresh in his mind. As he explained the significance of the title, a ballad is typically a love story consisting of three stanzas and is often brief in nature.

In the instance of the exhibition, the “Ballad of a Butterfly” was his way of communicating with his mother who is now on a multi-dimensional plane somewhere, sharing with her what is happening in life on his temporal plane and the art world, as well to bring her up to speed on how everyone back home is faring.

The exhibition featured 22 art pieces that were a mix of abstract, impressionism, realism, acrylic on canvas and mixed media. While Tom’s paintings are known for their explosion of bright colours, each painting on this exhibition had at least one drawing of a butterfly.

From Oshima to Mama Khumo 

The artist: “My mother affectionately called me Oshima, and when I paint, I let that inner child of hers in me come out. He is this carefree child who is not afraid to explore with colour. My current paintings were a dedication from Oshima to Mama Khumo.”

Another aspect of the butterfly motif in all the paintings is a representation of his late mother. Growing up as the only boy among five sisters, his sole household duty was tending to the garden in every respect. Butterflies were drawn to the garden by the flowers that his mother grew and was fond of.

While Tom’s new works of art have always been well-received by art enthusiasts, this year’s exhibition was a more intimate affair compared to his inaugural show. He took the opportunity to announce that his next solo exhibition will be in October next year.

“It always rains during my exhibitions,” he noted. “That is how I know that it is a success because I come from a family that firmly believes in blessings that come with rain.”