Reginald Bakwena is a painter and has been the Coordinator at Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Gaborone, Botwana, since 2003. He is committed to promoting contemporary art in his country and facilitating exchanges between local and international artists.
In 2007, Bakwena organised “Gabs Art 07,” a two-week workshop that gathered 25 emerging and established African artists and provided them with an interactive and creative environment. Led by British sculptor Richard Deacon, teacher at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (Ensba, Paris, France), Gabs Art 07 resulted in a group exhibition ranging from pottery, painting and sculpture, to video installation. Alongside established Botswana artists such as Isaac Chibua and Ray Gare, featured internationally acclaimed Pat Mautloa (South Africa), Soly Cissé (Senegal) and Goddy Leye (Cameroon).
“Gabs Art 07” also consisted of a series of discussions addressing art education, creative processes, curatorial issues and art criticism. Speakers included Richard Deacon, Henri-Claude Cousseau (France) director of the Ensba; Njuguna Wakanyote (Kenya) artist, writer, dramatist, and theatre director; and Kwezi Gule (South Africa), curator at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.
One of the most respected figures of the Botswana cultural scene, Bakwena strives to engage with the international art community and give contemporary Botswana artists further exposure.