Friday, February 28, 2014

Botswana's Playful Thamae Shesogo

Thama Setshogo a.k.a. Thamae b. 1970-2004, from the Ghanzi district, in Botswana. He is considered one of the most famous artists ever to come from Botswana. Thamae grew up on a farm near the Kalahari game reserve, where his parents worked as farm laborers. It was here that he developed an interest in nature and a love of animals.

Becoming an artist was nothing new to Thamae. It was always within him. He always loved to make beautiful things with his hands and loved to learn new ways of making things. Mostly, he worked directly from memory without any preliminary sketches. He loved to experiment with different art media. For him his art was the link between the past, the present and the future.
Although he never attained formal training, Thamae started to paint in the early 1990s at the Kuru Art Project. He became famous for his large black and white relief prints, and he explored lithography, making several prints at the Artists Press in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1999, he was one of four Kuru artists to take part in a print workshop at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also attended several of the Thapong International Artists' workshops in Botswana and an international workshop in Australia. Today, his prints are much sought after.
His subject matter choices were simplified yet detail-oriented, and had a certain symmetry. He often chose his subjects from his childhood memories living on the farm.Subtle, elegant color combinations are a major feature of his work. His work reminds me in part of the imagery of Aborigine artists from Australia. The flattened out spaces, texture and decorative borders have structure to support and surround the subject. His playful subject’s faces are a delight and his joy in rendering them is apparent.
Tragically, Thamae died suddenly in 2004, leaving behind a wife and seven young children. The body of his work continues to be sold to help support his family. Any inquiries for his work can be directed to

For purchasing information please contact:
San Arts & Crafts
Telephone and Fax: (+267) 659 7242

For questions about the project, artists or art contact:
Kuru Art Project
P.O. Box 219
Telephone: (+267) 659 6102
Fax: (+267) 659 7703
1991 Most Promising Young Artist
1992 Award of Merit for drawing and painting, Artists of Botswana exhibitions
1993 Trophy of Honor, Graphica Creativa Exhibition, Jyvaskyla, Finland
1994 World Award Winners Gallery, Katowice, Poland and Ronneby, Sweden
1994 Intergrafia '94, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
1996 Graphica Creativa '96, Jyvaskyla, Finland
1997 commission relief wall panel, Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone, Botswana
1997 mural, Return of the Moon exhibition, National Museum, Windhoek, Namibia
2003 SMTG International Print Triennial, Krakow, Poland

1 comment:

  1. Some great pieces here. Enjoyed see them... john schartung