Batswana Artists to Help Turkish Earthquake Victims

  • Charity Exhibibition Linnaeus – Sanitas Tea Garden
  • Wilson Ngoni among celebrated artists participating
  • Turkish ambassador speaks of “an incredible response”


Following the massive earthquake that shook the south-eastern provinces of Turkey on 6 February 2023, Batswana artists have volunteered their artworks to help raise funds for the victims who lost loved ones and had their homes destroyed.

They will mount a charity exhibition styled “Art for Türkiye Earthquake Relief” between 10:30am and16:30 at Linnaeus – Sanitas Tea Garden in Gaborone on Sunday 5 March.

Said the Turkish Ambassador to Botswana, Ahmet İdem Akay, in an interview: “The minimum required donation is 60 percent, though artists can donate up to 100 percent. Artists can claim up to 40 percent of the sale to help them cover the cost of materials for their artwork,”

Local artists

The art show is hosted by the Turkish Embassy in collaboration with sponsors Sanitas Tea Garden, ARC Botswana, Kuru Art, Thapong Art Institute and many local artists.

Internationally acclaimed Botswana based visual artist and Vice Chair of Art Residency Centre Botswana (ARC), Ann Mary Gollifer, has been essential in liaising with artists and bringing in some big names to join the exhibition.

She has generously donated a few pieces of her own work for the exhibition as well. Celebrated painter Wilson Ngoni has donated some of his paintings while Bushman artists from the Kuru Art Project have also donated contemporary San art to the cause.

The Director of Thapong Art Institute, Reginald Bakwena, has helped spread the word to the institute’s extensive list of members.

“Over 15 artists have come forward with over 25 pieces of different sizes and types of artwork so far donated,” Turkey’s top diplomat in Botswana, Akay, said. “We have some ceramic artists who will put their pottery on display as well.”

The Turkish ambassador added that they used different social media platforms and personal contacts of the embassy to ask artists to volunteer their works and are having “an incredible response”.

Ambassador Akay said they have also had generous offers of support from organisations and individuals such as the Swedish Honorary Consul to Botswana Kent Nilsson and the Director of Sanitas Nursery and Tea Garden who has graciously offered the space for the exhibition.

“Any amount will help”

Asked how much they hope to raise from the charity exhibition, Ambassador Akay said because sending goods from Botswana to Türkiye is logistically costly, they are accepting cash donations that will be directed to the Official Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) that is prioritising purchasing weather-proof tents, generators, heaters and blankets.

“We do not have a target amount,” the ambassador added. “The unprecedented level of destruction and damage to the 10 provinces and institutions affected will take months, if not years, to rebuild. Any amount will help. This will be one of several fundraising events for the cause.”

Food Market Fundraiser

The Turkish Embassy in Gaborone has a Facebook platform where artworks will be displayed and updates on fundraising events are shared. The works will be up for sale another one to two weeks after the exhibition date.

The next charity event for the same cause is a Food Market Fundraiser on 18 March at Game City in Gaborone that is being organised in collaboration with the Botswana Zahraa-Naaz Foundation, Care for Humanity and South Africa’s Gift of the Givers Foundation.