THE Lehakoe Cultural Hut is set to be converted into an art gallery- the first such in Lesotho, amid revelations that M40 000 has been budgeted for the purpose.
The Cultural Hut is a place where various Basotho cultural tokens, clothing, equipment, paintings and other artefacts are displayed.
It is open to the public who either visit to view and or to buy anything that catches their fancy.
However the Cultural Hut had been closed for many years before Lehakoe Recreational Cultural Centre, Operations Manager, Tšiu Shale, and his team worked to reopen it recently.
Mr Shale recently told Xpress People that they hoped to open the art gallery early next year.
“Lehakoe Recreational Cultural Centre is owned by the Central Bank but the Lehakoe Cultural Hut is a small component of the bigger centre,” Mr Shale said, adding, they were still in the pilot phase, in partnership with the Central Bank, Justice Motloheloanthaisane and others.
Mr Shale further explained that Justice Motloheloanthaisane was one of the first artistes with the vision of turning the Cultural Hut into an art gallery to provide a platform for artistes to come together and display their work.
“The challenge is that the majority of the population in Lesotho do not fully understand art yet.
“For our project to succeed we have to slowly introduce people to art and get them to trust us and what we’re doing. We encourage them to view our work and explain why it’s worth spending their hard earned money on it,” Mr Shale said.
He said that the exhibition which was held at the Cultural Hut from 3 to 21 October this year, showed their commitment to art, adding that some of the pieces were sold for prices ranging from M1000 to M5000.
He said they hoped to sell the remaining art works to the top end consumers for anything from M2000 to M16000.
He further said they hoped to encourage artistes to continue producing quality work that can be displayed at the art gallery.
They would assist the artistes through workshops to help build their confidence as well as avail sponsorships to those facing challenges.
Ret?epile Moholi, was one of the most popular artistes at the exhibition who sold some of his pieces.
His work is inspired by the obstacles that are caused by cultural stereotypes which fuel misunderstandings among people of different races.
“My wooden artwork highlights the pressure that the male sex is under from society to be both heroic and sensitive.
“The tiger heads are a symbol of aggression that alienates human nature. The shapes and forms of the wire pieces take ambiguous notions of different objects like spaceships, trees, swords and anchor. The reason was to highlight the issues surrounding exploitation of culture for economic purposes, Mr Moholi said.