Thato Nkawana last week won the Thapong Artist of the Year Award (TAYA) with his artwork at Thapong Visual Arts Centre in Gaborone. Nkawana walked away with prize money of P35 000 for his installation piece titled World at Night, which depicts a black dress installed under a mosquito net and a fan underneath.
According to Nkawana, his art was inspired by events happening around him saying, “This work got inspiration from the negative events concerning women and the world. These days women face all kinds of abuse, physically and emotionally. We always hear of stories of women being raped, assaulted and murdered on many occasions.”
The Bobonong native went on to say he decided to communicate his deep hearted concerns through the work of art. He decided to install a black dress inside a mosquito net. The black colour of the dress representing wickedness and the dress is blown around by a fan underneath as if there is no way out. “I was trying to show that some women live in fear and are always trembling for their lives,” he said.
Below the dress are men depicted relaxing inside white cups and with that he says he was trying to communicate how some men have neglected their families and do not provide emotional support and basic needs leaving women to struggle alone raising children.
“The art work also strives to communicate how our mother earth is experiencing undesirable events like earthquakes and other natural disasters,” he added.
Moreover, other winners in other categories include Bakang Baloi in the photography category, Baboloki Somolekae in the drawing category, Abednico Sechana in the ceramics category, Ditshupo Mogapi in the painting category winning P6 000 each while Omphile Sefako won the young artist of the year price and walked away with P12 000.
According to the judges of TAYA, the quality of entries submitted at the competition continues to prove that there is immense artistic talent that exists in the country. They continued to say the competition reflected a strong bias towards painting at the expense of other disciplines. Photography, Graphic Design and Printmaking works were almost nonexistent. One of the major concerns for the judges was the overemphasis of certain areas in an artwork and hence the artist not knowing when to stop working on the artwork, and knowing what contributes to the meaning and visual impact of an artwork and what does not.
“In future participating artists should reflect on their artistic ideas that help identify, establish and unify their voice and artistic concept. The strength of any work depends on the concepts behind its creation,” advised one of the judges, Dan Sideband.