A platform has been created for artists in the North West to showcase their work, following the opening of Mahikeng’s first gallery three months ago.

Art gallery director Tumi Tlhabi says some artists previously sold their work in the streets, while others had to leave the province to get their work recognised and sold.

The Art gallery in Mahikeng features work from all four district municipalities. Goldish Setilo is based in the capital city Mahikeng and says he became aware of his talent way back in Primary school and went on to study drawing at Mmabana foundation.

Inspired by the work of other artists, he taught himself how to paint and has been doing the work professionally for 10 years. His art depicts rural life and its beauty.

“To be honest it is the first time that I am exhibiting my work in the art gallery, I am happy that I got this opportunity. Previously government supported us by buying our products and calling us to paint walls. I would also exhibit my artwork in the malls and stuff.”

Another artist is 27-year-old Thato Seboko from Itsoseng township who derives his inspiration from life in general. He previously had to travel outside of the North West to Gauteng to sell his work.

“We are looking at teaching our people from here in Mafikeng what art is and what happens within the selling of the artworks well, what the art gallery is and what artists actually go through in terms of getting their work out there and so on and so forth.  I think it would give them a broader perspective of what art is and to see it more outside the perspective or stereotype that it’s a hobby.”

Art gallery Director Tumi Tlhabi says the gallery does not only give the artists a platform to sell their work but also empowers the community in general about the arts.

“Knowledge is limited I won’t lie we still need to teach our people about how art works; that you don’t just walk in and say I have a R100. Coming to an art gallery we get to educate people also to say, as much as you are investing in travelling, art also works that way.  It’s an investment it doesn’t depreciate in value it appreciates.”

The gallery is aiming to open an online store in future to allow art lovers to purchase artworks.