By Keletso Mkhwanazi
Art is defined as an expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture. And while most artists are driven to share their work, many local upcoming artists do not have access to galleries and museums. This is why visual artist Boitumelo Diseko decided to open B Artworks Gallery for upcoming artists to showcase their work.
It initially started off as an online gallery to keep visual artists in the loop with opportunities of getting recognition at pop-up exhibitions, but it recently evolved into a walk-in gallery. It is situated in the heart of Johannesburg’s creative hub, Maboneng, tucked in the Main Change Building’s 3rd Floor. Diseko told Vutivi News that she always wanted to be an artist and gallery owner, and that is what drove her to complete her degree in art. “As the Owner of B Artworks Gallery, I want to make sure that we as black creatives own our narratives which also allows us to own the economic processes that create those narratives and that’s how we benefit,” she said.
She also wanted to reshape the ‘starving artist narrative’ because there was a lot of money in the creative economy, but not much when it came to the homes and hands of the black creators. Diseko, who has been nominated for Forty Under 40 South African Awards 2023, said the gallery had also partnered with People Solutions in Action and Botshabeko, which were both NGOs that focused on children’s foundation education and transforming the teaching approach in low-income communities. “We run art competitions with the youth to act as a catalyst to helping in growing the passion for art they have, although I faced some resistance, for being young, female, and black, I achieved,” she proudly said.
Diseko’s artworks are rooted in environmental psychology and the Christian faith. Her work looks at how the environment affects us as human beings and how God uses it to build our character, “Environmental psychology is a multidimensional field that focuses on the interplay between individuals, their surroundings, and how It examines the natural environment (that) shapes individuals,” explained Diseko, adding that she used a technique called lineation as she looked at memory and identity encoded onto a landscape.
She uses social media to connect with her art followers and buyers, and the marketing of the gallery is also through social media as it works for her to target potential exhibitors. Her website can be found at www.b-artworksgallery.com.