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Fighting HIV/AIDS through Arts

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As part of its bid to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS Thapong Visual Arts recently held a two-week exhibition at the Nhabe Museum.
Sponsored by the American Embassy, the exhibition last Saturday was preceded by a workshop at which artists from Maun and the surrounding areas worked on the pieces that were on display.
Speaking to The Voice last Wednesday as they worked on their pieces, the artists expressed pleasure at being given the chance to use their God-given talent to help in the fight against a scourge.
“I have seen a lot of people die from HIV/AIDS and I will be very happy if my work does something to reverse the trend,” said 29-year-old Lamiki Tshoganetso of Gunotsoga Village.
As artists we need to play our part in national issues and show that our work is not just about making money from our talent,” he said.
Another artist, 22-year-old Kelatetse Keowetse of Maun, said he was “worried at the rate at which people are dying in the country. I hope my work will help people realise that with timely diagnosis and proper taking of ARVs HIV/AIDS can be managed. I also hope my work will help reduce the number of new infections amongst young people.”
Keowetse was the only female participant at the event.
Others who spoke to The Voice about the event are Thapong Coordinator Reginald Bakwena and the event facilitator, Ivy Ramapadi, an art teacher at Gaborone Secondary School.
“We hope paintings will communicate the message more effectively because pictures can be understood by a lot more people than the written word which can only be appreciated by those who can read. After all a picture can say more than a thousands words,” Bakwena said.
Ramapadi also noted that young people “are very receptive to the idea of using art to communicate the HIV/AIDs message and from the workshops we have already held in other parts of the country I am confident that the message is reaching more and more young people which is in line with the nation’s health aspirations by 2016.”
For his part US Embassy Information Expert Laona Segaetsho said the Americans decided to support the initiative to complement what the government is already doing.
“The government is doing great in the treatment and care of HIV/AIDS and we trust our efforts to help educate will go a long way in helping reduce the number of infections especially among young people who are the most vulnerable,” Segaetsho said.