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Chinese Embassy donated to Thapong

GABORONE - The Chinese Embassy has donated P15 000 to Thapong Arts Centre to assist in the preparation for the 2010 Thapong Artists of the Year (TAYA) awards.

Cecilia Wang Xiao, chief political officer at the Chinese Embassy, noted that the embassy is always eager to promote local artists as well as to help them develop their skills.

She said that the embassy has sponsored the TAYA before and added that it also supports some programmes conducted at the Thapong centre aimed at empowering the artists.

The TAYA awards recognise and acknowledge the contribution of members of the centre in the development of visual arts in Botswana hence the coordinator of Thapong Centre, Reggie Bakwena announced that the awards are open to members of Thapong only as a way of motivating them and stimulating creativity among members of the centre through competitive art.

Artists are asked to submit their new art works as this also challenges them to advance their skills. The TAYA was initiated in 2004 with only seven artists participating and a painter won the award that year.

The following year the awards spread to centers outside Gaborone benefiting from the generous outreach programmes provided by the centre.

The 2005 TAYA saw a Ramotswa based artist scooping the award.

In the years that followed, a significant number of participants was recorded and also recorded was a definite improvement in the quality of most art pieces that were submitted.

Bakwena noted that the main aim of the TAYA is to promote competitiveness and quality production of artworks in Botswana as well as promoting art as a viable career choice for the participants who are mainly young people.

He also noted that the awards help expose young and disadvantaged artists who are otherwise constrained by lack of opportunities to penetrate the market.

In 2008, the centre created a media award in recognition of the media efforts to promote the visibility of artists and awareness of the art.

Neo Matome scooped the TAYA in 2008 and Uhuru Kgope won the award in 2009.

This year's ceremony will be held on the 25th of September. The TAYA is also supported by the Department of Arts and Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture.

(06 September 2010, BOPA)

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