Wilson Ngoni is one of the most prominent creatives in the country. Last month, the internationally acclaimed artist released his latest offering, a compilation book titled ‘Living with the Brush’. We brushed off our shoes to paint words with the maestro.
How has Covid-19 affected your business?
I will be honest with you things are really low for me, and certainly for my fellow artists.
We see it, we feel and we know it!
Sales have gone down, and we cannot do exhibitions like we used to do because of the gathering restrictions.
At this rate, most of us may end up quitting forever the creative industry, especially the fine arts sector
But you are forging ahead and have released another book.
My latest book, released in December 2020, is called ‘Wilson Ngoni Living with the Brush’.
It is a coffee table book of a collection of my work randomly picked from across my career, which now spans roughly three decades.
Tell us a bit more about the book’s title.
This book gives an overview of the scope of my work over the three decades.
It also communicates my creative attitude, my love for life and humanity, my major source of inspiration, which is my country, Botswana.
And this journey is captured through my major tool, the brush.
Which of your works remain closest to your heart?
Tough one but I would say my painting which is called ‘Ask the mountains’.
I guess that is why it made it to the cover of the book!
What was the inspiration behind the compilation?
Well in the era we are in now we cannot go on as we used to.
Since I cannot do exhibitions, I decided to compile an exhibition in the form of this book.
Wherever this book is going, it is an exhibition of my work.
People can actually view and sort of experience the work from the comfort of their homes without risking crowds.
The book also explains the colourful dots that are always appearing on my paintings
Have you planned a launch yet?
Not too sure for now as the situation of the event is uncertain globally.
I might end up selling this book individually as I have been distributing it, we shall see.
To be honest the book might be sold out sooner than I had imagined.
The support in this regard is very promising and I’m thankful for the support from Batswana.
What lessons have you learnt over your 30 years in the game?
I have learnt and decided to paint each piece as though it’s my last piece.
I have to take each piece I produce very seriously.
I also learnt that I must love and enjoy my craft if I am to inspire others to love and consume it.
Art can never be art if it is not childish, so it requires an artist to play as a child does.
That way it becomes art.
I know you to be very spiritual, would you say that plays a big role in your end product?
My paintings are beyond anything that I know.
They are beyond my wisdom.
Five things peoples don’t know about you?
1. I am a very private person.
2. I depend more on the loneliness of an artist to be creative, so I spend much time alone
3. I don’t paint much
4. I spend very little time painting, even though I’m always surrounded by art things and paintings
5. I paint very fast. If I were to paint all the time, with this speed I have my paintings would equal the gravel grains on the railway lines from Gaborone to Francistown