Come out into the sunshine

Come out into the sunshine

On this beautiful Saturday the 20th of May 2017, I am invited to an exhibition of contemporary arts and crafts exhibition supported by Morija Museum & Archives, The Hub, Maeder House Gallery and Linotšing Art Centre.

It is an experience (that though it is told post-advance) opens up one’s eyes and makes them realise just one fact; we know too little of ourselves and our cultural heritage, and essentially are unaware of our potential that can only be expressed through our talent.
The main concern on my part as a writer is the continuing cry on the part of the artists, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs in our land, and this contained within the phrase, “there is no market for our products . . . ”

And so when institutions take it upon themselves to host a spectacle and an open fair where aficionados and connoisseurs can come to view and buy the works of local artists, the least one can do is to applaud the initiative, and the best one as a writer can do is to contribute to the best of their ability, the message that will help the advancement of the call to recognise the art industry in a manner befitting the efforts of the individual artists and the entrepreneurs that impact every sector of our economy’s development.

MMA and its partner institutions locally and abroad, not only toil to ensure that local arts and crafts are given due recognition, but these institutions also unite the local artists with prospective investors in their ventures.

There are a few core aspects of economic development one as an observer realises about this venture on the day that are salient to the promotion of artistic and entrepreneurial talent at fairs such as this one: i. commitment to promote local arts and crafts industry, ii.
The role and the significance of linking varied sectors in the economy, iii. Lessons on Business Strategy and Youth Development iv.
The venture by MMA and fellow institutions, in actuality acts as a platform through which the merging of the arts and crafts sector with other sectors of the economy is made possible.

Future prospects can only become a reality if institutions realise that the enjoyment of art is not only limited to the arts, the reality is that not all the buyers of art are cognoscente or pretentious arty-farty types: they actually have real appreciation for art and are willing to buy or invest in it.

This is one of the reasons why the day included sumptuous food and beverages, a visit to the MMA which is “the” well of knowledge central and core to our history as a nation under the guidance of its curator Dr. Stephen Gill.

Some of us took tours and hikes to historical and heritage sites as Makeneng with a group of international journalists that include Mr. Bill Hinchberger, who is on a mission to educate local media personnel on election reporting, Mr. Craig Anderson and his daughter Liako, and other international guests to the place where one cannot help but be overcome with emotion at the beauty of the architecture from a past age whose restoration questions MMA and partners are addressing at this moment in time.

Had the opportunity to interview individuals in the arts and crafts, and entrepreneurs at the Maeder House Gallery Exhibition organised by Nazreen Rorke in unity with Teyana Neufeld of Action Lesotho, and the two ladies are also hard at work developing the use of natural dyes for use in woven grass baskets and tapestries in local women development projects.

Beginning with Mr. Marcel Ntee the inspiration behind Martaramputana Design Studio to get the insight on his impressive art designs and wood-etchings, I then went to Thabang Mashapha of Reetzman J. who declares that he ‘seeks to teach the truth as it is to the kidz through art and nature’. Thabo Malefetsane of GYR (Good Young Rasta) designs his bracelets and varied art pieces for a “purpose”.

A talk with Ntate Samuel Chopho reveals how this artist and teacher from Ha-Abia not only creates beautiful ornamental houses, but also carries the spirit of ‘The Green Revolution’ that has helped him found innovative ways to make art from recycled material.
Relebohile Monkhe from Jona Belo Inc. is a spirited figure to whom art is a spiritual journey, the understanding of whose concepts leads to the idea becoming a reality.

\Ms. Boitumelo from Ulu (Wool) Creations makes marvels with wool ranging very wide in terms of design and beauty.
My feet then led me to Mr. Katleho Mthembu whose Bowshoeshoe designs (a community-based, in-house training project he started 2 years ago with Peacecorp teacher Edward Wycliffe) are sold as far as the USA and seen thriving projects started in Mafeteng, Semongkong, and Qacha’s-Nek.

I got a taste of the oven marvels of Mrs. ‘Matebello Nyabela whose Masutsa Bakery aims to supply Lesotho with much needed bread and confectionery of all types.

Rethabile Manare of Fast Food is a young woman whose kebabs and samoosas will leave the palate singing. The mosaic art of Puseletso Qhoai is beautifully different, revealing other perspectives in art.

China-trained potter ‘Me Majack of ‘Majack Pots churns out beautiful ceramics that show one that there is beauty in clay. And Napoleon Makhele of V26 Napoleon Couture has designs that are simply trendsetting haute couture.

I cannot forget the photography of Guga’s Khotso Monyamane, whose hat designs leave one spellbound. As said before, there were lots of individuals one met this day, and I was left twisted into the wire art of Karabo Mohapeloa of Wire Waya whose pieces one can only dream of while he twists them into reality.

And the Wushu master Sobo T. Bernard’s collage of copper designs and masks just exposed the depth to which we have gone into ourselves to express beauty to the world.

Moleboheng Rampou of The Nala Project defines it as an umbrella community market that has for a year now promoted the arts, the food, and acted as a platform of development for varied individuals active in the arts, food and beverages, and entrepreneurship; a commendable committed ‘get up and do it’ initiative.

Litema Designs’ Nkekeletse Molapo-Anderson reveals an endless universe of possibilities, and being a veteran who has traversed the full spectrum of the arts and crafts field, one feels that her novel “upcycling”” (recycling materials for the increase of their value) project is sure to open a door of endless opportunities for the arts, but more than that re-invent the concept of recycling for profit and livelihood.
Above this, the presence of Vodacom Lesotho with their stall brings a spirit of encouragement because I see; the company is indeed committed to improving the business sector and livelihoods of the various entrepreneurs in the country.

This is a day that opened up my eyes to the fact that; the efforts of one are reminiscent to the gentle flapping of a butterfly’s wings whose effect may not be noticed, but will upon maturation result in wealth, needed funds, and the nurturing of the spirit of togetherness we need to garner in unity, and lead us into the future as a connected unit of individuals from different sectors of the Mountain Kingdom’s economy.

To be present at this day’s event is to have the fortune to witness a mushroom blossom, to be part of the testament tomorrow when it becomes a worldwide spectacle.

The stars are bright in the Morija sky as I type in the privacy of the room that once was a master mason’s;  and the possibilities I have seen this day for growth today seem to outnumber the stars . . .

Tšepiso s. Mothibi

Previous IEC warns media
Next PM promises wage hike

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