The focus of having an unconventional launch was to mobilize the out of school youth in performing and visual arts. The art competition was open to all youth. Four secondary schools based in Maun: Tshwaragano Community Junior Secondary, Maun Senior Secondary School, Matshwane Primary School, Okavango International School and Delta Waters International School participated. A total of six out of school youth and a Non Government Organisation, Bana Ba Letsatsi, an NGO for vulnerable children aged thirteen and below also took part. The theme was the same; the transformation of a nursing mother into an elephant. In the gallery below is an exhibition of their work. All participants were awarded a certificate and a t-shirt along with cash prizes for the best three pieces.
Bonty (first from the left) with Okavango International School participants of the art competition and their teacher Ms. Nyaguse (on the right).

Frances Combs, fine artist / illustrator:

As judges, we were given specific categories against which to judge each piece, and we ranked each as it fulfilled those criteria. None of the awards were totally unanimous. The artworks gave rise to hours of discussion. It was difficult to judge work on a solely objective basis, which is why we also had to make special mention of the judges’ favourites too!

Many of artists had to do the best they could with limited resources which is why I am pleased that our first prize went to Abel Makondo, who showed us what is possible with a single coloured pencil, a lot of patience, imagination and when you observe things closely.

I also particularly liked the work of those artists who concerned themselves with the spirit of the story: how small acts can change one, can make you bigger, stronger or change our perspective on life. But, that’s just another interpretation of the story which could also be told as a creation myth: how elephant came to be, or as a warning tale to children: not to be clumsy, to be aware or else you could be turned into an elephant; or, as I’ve already said, as a tale of transformation: how a poor, desperate woman changed her life by one small act.

I hope that for all artists who have entered this competition, that their action (of making a piece for this competition) will open their lives up to what is possible when one chooses to participate.
Bonty with students of the Delta Waters International School with their teacher Mr. Bhattacharya
Bonty with one of the student artists of the Tshwaragano Community Junior Secondary School and their headmaster Mr. Kwape.
Bonty with artists from Bana ba Letsatsi - NGO for vulnerable and orphaned children.