BIHL in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development hosted a special evening on Thursday that was dedicated to celebrating Botswana’s indigenous artworks on Thursday evening.
The intimate event was held at the National Museum, and was attended by a number of well-known faces amongst them the Assistant Minister of Youth, Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Kefentse Mzwinila and the BIHL Board Chairperson, Dambe Groth.
Pieces that were on display at the Octagon and Main Gallery were artworks that formed part of the 2017 edition of the National Baskets & Crafts exhibition of the annual President’s Day Celebrations. They ranged from photographs, traditional Lokgapho, an array of quilts and many more.
The highlight of the evening was seeing all those who were in attendance giving the many pieces that were on display the love and appreciation that they deserve. Speaking at the event, BIHL Group Chief Financial Officer Kudakwashe Mukushi explained that Botswana indigenous artworks continue to attract demand from overseas investors and therefore hold considerable potential for diversifying the local economy. Mukushi said they were passionate about their partnership with the Ministry and Batswana craftsmen because this sector holds immense potential for generating substantial revenues, creating sustainable employment and enhancing local industries including that of manufacturing and tourism. “People travel the world to collect art pieces in prestigious galleries and heritage sites. This in turn attracts business to vendors, transport, communications, hospitality and more industries and Botswana has the talent and dynamism to attract this kind of creative investment into our economy. The economic viability is evident and we stand to benefit greatly as a nation if we channel greater investment into our indigenous artistry,” he says.
The Night at the Museum exhibition is an annual event that forms part of BIHL Trust’s sponsorship of the annual President’s Day celebrations. This year’s exhibition marks BIHL Trust’s 2nd consecutive year of participation in the MYSC-championed campaign. BIHL Trust remains committed to supporting Botswana’s creative arts. In 2015, for example, the Trust collaborated with local craftsmen to establish the #RhinosInTheCity nationwide rhino conservation campaign and Thapong Visual Arts Centre to erect the BIHL Roving Gallery. In 2016, in addition to sponsoring the President’s Day awards and hosting the Night at the Museum, the Trust sponsored the Heritage Trail along Gaborone’s Independence Avenue, illustrating key milestones achieved in Botswana’s 50 years as a Republic using photographs from the national archives.
For his part, the Assistant Minister hailed the corporate networking session. Giving the keynote address, he pointed out that the role of the Baskets and Crafts exhibition is to highlight the role that the artists play in the economy. He also explained that art exists in every culture for a purpose. “It allows artists to express what can not be put into words. It is a medium of expression and it facilitates social discourse,” says the Assistant Minister adding that it was an important tool for social commentary.