“We have hosted only five exhibitions with low turn out”
With only three months before the end of 2021, The Thapong Visual Arts Centre has experienced its worst year since its inception.
Home to Botswana’s finest art and the crème de la crème of art exhibitions, indeed it is every local artist dream to showcase at the Thapong stage but the venue has seen the worst ‘drought’ ever as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and indeed the state public of emergency laws.
With an imposed no-gathering restriction and curfew hours, the centre has hosted significantly fewer art exhibitions as compared to previous years.
Painting the gloomy picture was the centre’s coordinator, Reginald Bakwena when speaking to Voice Entertainment this week Bakwena said, “By this time we would have had over 10 art exhibitions, and before the onset of Covid-19 we would have hosted even more exhibitions and events.”
According to Bakwena, they have hosted only five exhibitions this year and the future looks bleak for the rest of the year.
“Even when we had those five we saw very low turnout because I guess generally people now avoid crowds. We would see more walk-in’s than people actually attending the opening day of the exhibition, which is naturally more exciting and more interactive with the exhibitors,” Bakwena explained.
He went on to state that he had observed that customers’ budgets have shifted and priorities are no longer with art.
” We now rely on past customers whom we now have to phone and sell our products unlike before when they voluntarily came,” he said.
Asked about the ‘Sponsor An Artist’ campaign they embarked on early this year-where they made a call out for Government and private sector to assist artists, Bakwena said nothing had come forth.
“We are however optimistic that there will be something coming forth but for now, we have not received any help from our SOS call,” the Thapong coordinator lamented.
On the optimistic side, Bakwena said that they are now looking to harness the digital space to be able to sell art and possibly host exhibitions online.