With art being something that everybody can relate to individually, it is of great importance to make it visible and accessible to every Mosotho. Therefore, the first ever Tag-iHub Art Exhibition was held on the grounds of Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO in front of our building on the 20th October.
The exhibition was done in collaboration with GEM-Institute. Tag-iHub is a new initiative by both the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO and GEM-Institute to support, engage and encourage technology and arts practitioners to participate through exhibitions, networking, collaborative innovation and entrepreneurship. Promoting creative industry policies and focusing, with the participation of women and youth, on disrupting inequality, are the objectives Tag-iHub wants to achieve through its work.
Since the event was open to the public, every pedestrian passing by, alongside people who knew about the exhibition through our flyers in the hall and at the Alliance Française and everybody else who was curious and interested, was invited to pause for a moment during a busy workday and enjoy the beauty of art. Though the exhibition was scheduled to take place from 10am to 2pm the display went on successfully the whole day.
The exhibition mainly featured Thato Mokhali, a young, upcoming Mosotho painter and graphic designer who knows how to illustrate Basotho culture in a fascinating way. Both colourful and exhilarating as well as thoughtful and pensive pieces were shown. Portraying numerous women in typical Basotho dresses, as fighters or with the traditional Basotho instrument Lesiba as well as young herd boys wearing Basotho blankets on horses with the background of the stunning landscape of the Lesotho mountains, the young artist invites Basotho people to appreciate their culture and to think actively about combining past and present to a prosperous future, free from inequalities between women and men.
In addition to pieces already prepared and ready for sale, Thato brought some unfinished drawings as well, which he worked on during the exhibition. In this way, visitors could see the live process of making art with their own eyes. Many stopped, fascinated to catch a glimpse of the more and more developing art pieces. Turning 25 years the very same day, Thato enjoyed his birthday and first proper exhibition with friends, lots of curious visitors and a real birthday cake.
Since the idea behind the exhibition at the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO was to make art more visible to the public, as well as bring young Basotho artists together to build on their possibilities to become known as professionals, UNESCO, GEM-Institute and Thato himself invited three other young artists to show their pieces. In addition to paintings by Hlalele, there were artfully designed caps, hand painted with a pattern that reminds of the classic Basotho blanket by ‘Moore (Blankslide) and modern Basotho hats made by Mlatz out of colourful and patterned fabrics instead of straw, beautifully showing the diversity of art in the Mountain Kingdom.