ARTIST: MOLEBOGE MOKGOSI
COUNTRY: BOTSWANA
MATERIALS USED: MEDIBANG PAINT

The attached illustration is a visual representation of my current mental state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a visual artist whose sole source of income is through the sale of my artwork, the pandemic not only affected my income but also my mental state hindering my whole creative process.

Having a healthy mindset is very important to me when I am working on my artwork as it contributes to my confidence, effectiveness and creativity and without any of the three my work suffers as a result. Barriers of inspiration come in many forms and the pandemic is one of the biggest barriers I had to mentally overcome because of how it almost put a halt to my life as a creative.

The blue background on my illustration represents all the negative energy that has overcome the art community. Art galleries in Botswana are closed; exhibitions were cut short because of the safety measures, art supply shops were not deemed as part of the essential services thus being closed throughout the whole lockdown duration.

The dark unclothed body is a nod to the gloom that has overcome my mentality in response to the unfortunate events that has greatly affected everyone around me. The most important thing is acknowledging the devastation caused by the pandemic and coming up with ways to overcome and take advantage of the situation. Due to the increased amount of free time I have, I took it as an opportunity to do more research that will enrich the concepts of my artwork and working on improving and learning new skills.

The round piece of foil covering the head shows self-preservation from the above mentioned negative points. The main use of aluminium foil is to act as a protective barrier between the object that is intended to be preserved and the external factors that can contaminate that object. The mind is something that can be easily swayed by different matters that are presented to it which is why I find it important for me to keep a healthy mentality and preserving it from outside influence as it builds its strength so it doesn’t affect my work. Creating this mental barrier has helped me in maintaining a positive and healthy mindset and fortunately, as a result, my artwork has been consistent.

The bold red horizontal bar represents the positivity that is constantly growing within me. Regardless of the current issues caused by the pandemic, people are showing much more support to artists and there are more opportunities presented to the art community. Most art galleries went digital through creating online exhibitions which are easy to access since there are no geographical factors hindering the public to view the art exhibitions, artists can now submit their work to international galleries which can then be featured in these free online exhibitions. There has been an overwhelming amount of support and it is great to see the public, government and private sectors taking part in underpinning art.