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Art on denim!

Denim art collection has gained huge popularity as an idea of wearing one-of-a-kind piece of art appealed to many customers.

A splash of colour can inject new life into anything. So are artists, if you fancy, creative designers. We are captivated by the meticulous paintings they create on vintage denim, demonstrating their ability to fuse art and fashion.The lines that define what art is these days are so blurred. Some artists are popular because someone sees potential in them, and it is all very subjective. The same goes to fashion. Some people dress practically, and that is not art. But other people dress for fashion and to express their personalities, and that is art!

These artists do custom, hand painted denim jackets bringing art to the world of fashion hence creating the ultimate unique and expressive look. Some jackets are painted or painted and hand stitched embroidered. We are now far from the times when a piece of denim was just some durable jeans that the last centuries workers used to wear. Now denim, like most of the fabrics in the industry, it used to make a statement, and goes far beyond that concept: so far that we can talk about artistic denim.
When we look at the origin and history of denim, we realise that it was indeed designed to be a durable piece of clothing. Made for the working class, it had forcibly to be that way. What no one probably expected, at that time, was that the piece of clothing that Levi Strauss made popular, would be such a fashionable fabric.

In the last century, from being used in cowboy movies, to its importance as military clothing in the Second World War, or its association to the hippie movement, jeans popularity has always risen. It was a people’s fabric that was later reutilized by designers all over the world. More and more people started to use denim due to its durability, but also due to the cool effects they could do in denim. After world war two, the use in Europe increased dramatically. This fabric was so great that, even when it ripped due to the hard conditions that it was used for, the effect that those ripped jeans produced, was just cool. 
When fashion designers started to look at denim as a great fabric that they could use, all the game changed.

They started to see which things look good, such as the ageing processes, how to replicate it. They found out how denim could be used, not only with a great sense of durability, but also with a great sense of fashion: and that’s how artistic denim started to get shape. Artistic denim refers to the art of using denim and appeared several decades after the first denim examples were made. The constant learning about how a piece of denim could be worked, coloured and shaped into different forms by denim innovation specialists that made denim artistry possible. That can make jeans amazing pieces of art.

That and the creator’s innovative ideas using denim. And the result couldn’t be better: something with fashion sense, that shows your personality, durable and that you will love. I came across one designer who I feel is dynamic, spontaneous, feisty, fearless, extrovert and a trendsetter. This young man has all it takes to be called ‘’an innovative individual of the now century’’ because, he is just incredible! He does remarkable art works on denim, on walls and even on your body. He is a jack of all trades; he is a body-art artist, motivational speaker and a photographer. Let’s just declare him ‘’hustler of the year’’ once and for all.

In an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, an artistic, versatile 22-year-old Price Tom is a Limkokwing 4th year student pursing his degree on Industrial Design, who does art part time. ‘’I would choose art over industrial design any day because art was my calling. It had always shown since my tender age and I started painting on clothes back in 2017. I basically started off with painting shows in 2015 then over the years I started painting on denim jackets. The idea came about when I realised that I live in a country where my beloved people do not really appreciate art much especially canvas art and pencil drawings and as an artists, I bestowed it upon me to find solutions to embed art into Batswana’s brain and hearts.

I did my research and figured out that people are trapped in the fashion era hence why I decided to put art and fashion together. It worked wonders. People loved my denim paintings and that made them to see that I do canvas paintings and pencil drawings too. My idea worked pretty well an di started painting blazers, dresses and caps’’ he told Weekend Life reporter in Gaborone this week. Tom underlined that he loves painting on canvas more than on clothes. ‘’This is because painting on canvas allows me to share my melancholic stories through my use of color and my subjects whereas painting on jackets I only do to gain recognition from the masses and I am  happy that it works. It only limits me because most of the times I have to do what satisfies the client, I enjoy panting better when the client allows me to fly on the wings of my creativity.

For me art is more spiritual. We artists have visions of how we want our paintings to look like and we share the unseen, unknown with the world by bringing them to life’’
He further indicated that painting on denim allows color fanatics to play around with different colors and also helps one to understand colors better and how they best work with each other. ‘’I have always been fascinated and intrigued by color because it is the best way of communicating with people how I see the world and my mood’’ he whispered. ‘’When I paint on canvas I usually use color to so express my emotions. Most of my paintings have a lot of color blue because most of my life I known and encountered was sadness and you know how blue is referred to as a sad color. My inspiration is my late mother. I paint as a way of mourning her, as a way of showing her that I’m still listening and it’s a way of paying tribute to her. 

She was the one who introduced me to painting and drawing when I was young, she assisted me in drawing and at one point she helped me with my first art accolades, it’s a pity she never lived long enough to witness me become the champion that I’m turning out to be but I’m certain that she’s watching me’’ Painting on denim doesn’t wash off, so I learnt! The paint Tom uses is suitable for most fabrics. The longevity of the work depends on how well the client takes care of it just like any other clothing from the shop. ‘’I have people who still rock my paintings that I did as back then in 2017 and they still look brand new. Art is invertible. It is mortal. When I paint on denim jackets or blazers, I usually do what the client wants or sometimes I ask them to me surprise them. Sometimes I buy jackets, paint and sell them ready made’’ Tom noted that social media is a platform he uses to attract customers.

He is not wrong! Most businesses, hustlers and artists have turned to social media to market, promote and sell their products and services. If you an entrepreneur and on this era you don’t have either a page or a personal account on social where you sell your stuff, you might as well quit. This is the 21st century and you ought to move with the times. ‘’Social media has been doing a good job for a lot of creative out there and sometimes I go out there and show people my work even though most of the time school limits me. Soon it won’t be something to worry about as I am on my final lap. I’ll have enough time to focus on my art and meet my customers, and even pitch proposals to government as I have been doing lately’’

‘’I recently did four canvas paintings for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and I’ve worked with a lot of people and different companies over 3 years period that I’ve painting and that has boosted my portfolio and connections with important people. Just like any other creative, Tom has a plan to diverse as much as possible because the whole idea is to make art that’s timeless.

Recently, he directed and wrote scripts for 2 music videos which are doing well so far. During his spare time, he enjoys reading as it helps him to remain relevant throughout the years. ‘’What I figured most people lack is consistency and research. I don’t want those two to ever die out in me.’’

 

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WeekendLife

Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

3rd June 2021
Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

The month of June marks a time of celebration and reflection for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year, LGBTQ+ allies and corporate companies joined in the celebration and developed new initiatives to support the vulnerable group. On the 1st of June 2021, Botswana’s diamond mining company, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), launched a new project dubbed the Real You Network.

This is a platform that creates a safe, inclusive, supportive and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ employees to allow them to bring their whole selves to work every day and work to their full potential.

The company stresses and prides its self in coming up with projects that make it the best place for people to thrive in their truest selves, something that is in their inclusion and diversity calendar.

When speaking during the virtual launch of Real You Network, DTCB Senior Human Resources Manager, Stella Moetse said “we will reach success when the talent that we have here in the glass house represents all the different people we have in our society, especially the minorities; and these are people living with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ and not only having them, but in positions of influence and decision making. This will be the true measure of inclusion.”

In September 2017, De beers announced a three-year partnership with United Nations Women; an arm of the United Nations dedicated to Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls.

As part of this partnership, the group committed to taking a holistic and long term approach to promoting gender equality within the business and communities. DTCB says, the commitment in its group has gone beyond gender to create an inclusive workplace for all.

“Because of this commitment to promote and support an inclusive workplace, DTCB which is part of the De Beers group resolved to be inclusive in its approach. As a result, we have elevated inclusion and diversity to Board level reporting. We promote awareness through training our employees on identified inclusion and diversity topics such as anti-bullying and harassment, unconscious bias and inclusive hiring.”

Moetse applauded and appreciated the role that advocacy groups for LGBTQ+ play in pursuit of their rights in society, indicating that it is not an easy task for them to given societal orientations. “It is commendable however, how they are constantly challenging us to break down any preconceptions, removing structural and societal barriers and biases.”

Technical Services Senior Manager, Prudence Mabua, shared the same sentiments, saying that LGBTQ+ persons face obstacles when it comes to accessing many of their rights, including their right to social protection.

The Real You Network, will allow for an environment of openness and promote a culture of a fully inclusive network open to all colleagues regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, she said.

“Through events such as this one, our vision is to continue creating platforms that allow for employees and individuals to share lived experiences as this is key in increasing understanding, tolerance and acceptance,” Mabua highlighted.

“There is significant ignorance and resistance to the reality of the existence of LGBTQ+ community in Botswana. While people may not have the intention to be homophobic, the language they use is often offensive. This increases the fear of coming out as people are scared of being subjected to judgement and discrimination.”

Uncovering the main objectives of the Real You Network, Mabua stressed that the platform will enable DTCB to be visible in its consciousness of LGBTQ+ matters and allegiance of the community, hold conversations to sensitize its workforce on LGBTQ+ inclusion and challenge policies and procedures as well as attracting and retaining qualified people of the LGBTQ+ community.

Further, the Network will focus on sustainability and accountability, by achieving continuity by treating inclusion and diversity as a culture not events. It will also focus on acceptance of diversity and ensuring zero discrimination culture within the organization.

Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2020 by Asher and Lyric indicates that most African countries still criminalize and stigmatize LGBTQ+ practices. These countries are anti-homosexuality and protection of LGBTQ+ person’s rights is minimal.

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Maldives, Uganda, Iran, West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Jamaica, Oman, Malawi, Malaysia as well as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are some of the countries of the world which criminalizes homosexuality. Nigeria is the only country in the world with cruel treatment of LGBTQ+ persons.

In Nigeria, homosexuality receives up to 14 years in prison, and at most times the death penalty. In some of these countries, discussions of LGBTQ+ rights and gender expression are criminalized, flogging can occur for cross dressing, and homosexual intercourse receives 6 months to 3 years in prison.

Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations are sometimes barred, imitating the opposite sex can result in prison time and buggery receives up to 10 years in prison and hard labour.

Nonetheless, there are other countries (mostly from the West) which promote and protect the LGBTQ+ community. These countries legalized same-sex marriages, protect the community against discrimination, criminalizes LGBTQ+ violence, implement transgender legal identity laws and are safe places for LGBTQ+ persons to live in.

These are: Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Uruguay, Norway, France, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the United States.

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WeekendLife

Botswana fades away from Miss Universe pageant

17th May 2021
MISS-UNIVERSE-2013-Tirelo

Botswana once had a story love affair with the world’s biggest premium beauty pageant, Miss Universe. This was in 1999 when Botswana’s first representative at Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, effortlessly snatched the title.

It was every contestant’s beautiful dream to wear the crown, but winning at first entry was implausible if not magical. Kwelagobe made the country contented, and history was made. Taking a closure significant look at her performance at the Miss Universe held at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, Kwelagobe battled it out on and off stage with 84 contestants and showed them dust. She was in the Top 5 spot with South Africa, Venezuela, Philippines and Spain. There are countries which snatch the Miss Universe title every year.

Miss Universe 2019 was a South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi. Mpule Kwelagobe scorecard looked pretty remarkable. She scored 9.05 out of 10 on her interviews, 9.18 swimsuit, 9.36 evening gown, semi-final average 9.19 and 9.48 on the Top 5 question. These results were good enough to earn her the crown.

However, over the years (since the crowning of Mpule Kwelagobe), Botswana has been fading away from participating at the Miss Universe. Between 2002 and 2003, the country did not participate in Miss Universe but in 2004, the country sent a winning title of Miss Universe Botswana to Ecuador, Miss Universe 2004.

In 2010, Mos Syde Worldwide Entertainment Group: an international entertainment and fashion company domiciled in Botswana took over the Miss Universe Botswana pageant after a six-year absence. Tirelo Ramasedi was crowned Miss Universe Botswana 2010, and represented the country in Las Vegas on August 23. As it is right now, Ramasedi is the only former Miss Universe queen still keen in having her name shine out there: she works closely on projects aimed at empowering women and young girls.

Sadly so, 2013 was the last time Botswana participated in Miss Universe. After five years of not participating at Miss Universe pageant, the first Miss Universe Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe took over the franchise. The winner selection of Miss Universe Botswana 2019 was to remark Botswana to Miss Universe 2019, however, was cancelled.

2019 marked another possible six years since Botswana lacked participation in Miss Universe. This drastic zero participation in this premium beauty competition paved way for our neighbours South Africa to sail smoothly at the competition. Zozibini Tunzi became an instant global queen and everyone’s favourite after displaying intelligence, poise and taking up space to be crowned Miss Universe 2019.

The pageant was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. This will be the third time in the history of the competition in which the event will be held after the calendar year has ended: this previously occurred during Miss Universe 2014 and Miss Universe 2016 (in which Botswana was not participating).

Miss Universe Organization announced early this year that the competition would be held on May 16 2021, at Seminole Hard rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States. Zozibini Tunzi will crown her successor at this competition.

Botswana, will not be participating at the Miss Universe 2020, again. The weakening Miss Universe Botswana has been attributed to by internal fights within the organization. But why participate at Miss Universe?

The Miss Universe Organization is a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success.

Women participate annually to affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically as inspirational leaders and role models. The delegates and titleholders that have participated in the MUO system are able to cultivate their personal, professional and philanthropic goals. These women are forward thinking and motivated not just talk about change, but to initiate it.

Prominent beauty pageants analyst in Botswana Morekolodi Smith took Weekendlife in an exclusive interview that it has been so many years of absence from participating at Miss Universe, and this shows that Botswana lacks consistency and commitment.

“The franchise holders fail to host a national pageant. I think they should hand over the license to Miss Botswana Organization because it hosts the pageant annually. Then the winner gets to participate in both Miss World and Miss Universe. They can maybe crown two representatives. Botswana has faded away from Miss Universe platform and fans have forgotten about it,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

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WeekendLife

Given Carter fools Batswana – again

11th May 2021
Given Carter

Pranks, for a common man, is designated to the 1st of April- April fool’s day. Usually it’s the only day out of the entire 365 days one can make a fool of others and get away with practically anything, anything legal that is.

While there are fanatics who do it for amusement, there are some who do it to earn their daily bread and butter. Some obviously saw a niche to keep people fascinated especially in these emotionally straining times of COVID-19. For the record, they don’t play ordinary cards as you may think.

Their pranks are as big and as real as marriage wrecking and all the drama that comes along with it. Given Carter is not just your ordinary boy next door. The Tonota born prankster is currently taking the entire country on an emotional rollercoaster from the comfort of his home in Francistown.

At only 32-years, Carter BW’s skills of planning and executing a prank is what sets him apart from the rest. In fact one can go as far as to say that he’s the only prankster Batswana know.His ideas are unique and relevant, telling a tale that someone can sit and think about, perhaps learn from it because they are everyday life happenings that most people can relate to because they have a way of really hitting home.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, the versatile Given Carter (who is also a photographer) says the inspiration behind pranking was to introduce something not so common in Botswana, and challenge typecasts associated with art, especially modern art.

“Growing up, we only saw pranks on the television dominantly done by the whites. We never thought this is something we can do, or maybe we didn’t understand the logic behind it. But I guess, pranks are real life lessons we need, its only that they are shared in a more hilarious and sometimes obstinate way,” he said.

Given Carter told this publication that, he spends most of his time on the internet, learning more tricky skills. This is quite a remarkable observation because in this era of advanced technology, one doesn’t necessarily have to go to school to learn from the grassroot. The use of technology has made it easier for people to acquire skills and knowledge, and still do exceptionally well without being in class.

“Of course, a bit of it is common sense but I make use of the internet to learn more on how I can improve my craft. It is quite unpretentious to do a prank because they are real-life situations, so its not much of a big deal. I needed people to learn and I think I came at the right time because most people are online, and the reception is just incredible.”

He however shed light on his first video shot in Shakawe that went viral, subsequently leading to speculations of his crew’s arrest. Given Carter was however not arrested instead he was brought before the police for questioning.

“We were not arrested as people may think. We were called to write statements on what the prank was all about and we were released the same day. I believe maybe we went too far in what we depicted in the video because it’s something that the society is not yet ready to accept, but it has been happening for a long time,” he told WeekendLife.

In many Western countries, pranksters do this for a living through YouTube accounts and subscriptions. “As it is currently, I do not have a YouTube channel. I am still building a platform and I’m certain very soon it will be up and running. I am primarily focused on taking my craft to the people, and let people know more about what I do. So technically, it has been about familiarising people with the art.”

Even though that’s the case, Given Carter says there is room for paid partnerships and endorsements. After all, there is an entire crew which need money to pay the bills. He says with so much ideas spinning in his head, there is need for financial support to be able to dish out more seeing that people love his works and how realistic his pranks are.

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