Being an artist

It goes without saying that Mr. Wilson Ngoni is one of Botswana’s most renowned and successful artists. As a visual artist he has produced art pieces that have been recognized by the global community as well as at home.

This past week, the Francistown Arts Meeting, a first of its kind in the area and possibly the country, invited Mr. Ngoni as a guest exhibitor with the aim of motivating other artists and bringing in flare to the event. Mr. Ngoni brought in a number of art pieces that truly are world class, expressions of the world through his eyes and heart and the motivation was felt even by those that are not in the art space.

When given an opportunity to speak, Mr. Ngoni picked up three points which he relayed to the audience which were based on his experience as an artist. They were in such a way that they communicated his challenges, grievances as well as solutions targeted at different stakeholders that are paramount to the success of the arts and creative industries. Wilson Ngoni has experienced much as an artist. “Of late”, he says, “there has been an outbreak of artists around the world yet at the same time there is no support for these artists.”

Though he has global recognition for his work, Mr. Ngoni’s second point was towards the government for them to support local artists. “Botswana has talented artists”, he said but at times they will not get recognized locally until someone else internationally does it first. He said he experienced the same with some of his artworks. It was only after international media houses such as CNN and BBC recognized his work that locals started doing so too.

His last point was towards the community saying “if our communities do not support artists, there will be a lot of brain drain as they will be forced to migrate to other countries where their gets recognized. Local artists sometimes get their work purchased in other countries and this will force them out of their communities and the countries meaning we lose talented people here, brain power. Lastly, he commended the organisers of the Francistown Arts Meeting on their initiative saying it gives hope to artists, both upcoming and experienced.