Artists of the Ribola Art Route in Limpopo would benefit greatly from a marketing strategy focused on brand visibility, according to SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona.
Ntshona, who recently visited the province, said: "I came into contact with some of the most beautiful works of art, an exquisite journey of the Limpopo province culture told through art. There were bursts of creativity, depth of spiritual inspiration and sheer love for art from the various areas I visited, all reinforcing that it is time our hidden gems take centre stage.”
He said this made him think that creating a visible brand market for such products would help to draw people to specific artists and not a generalised idea of African art.
The artists along the route appreciated Ntshona’s visit but emphasised how hard they were hit by COVID-19.
“COVID-19 hit us all hard, however I saw that as an opportunity to create meaningful pieces about the pandemic that can also raise awareness,” said scrap metal artist, Pilato Bulala.
CEO of Limpopo Tourism Agency, Sonto Ndlovu, said in addition to brand visibility, there was need for the route to develop a branding concept that would clearly link the various art attractions in the area using global positioning technologies, clear signage along the route, and the digital availability of other materials, like brochures.
“Our greatest challenge beyond marketing this place is to solicit corporate sponsors to take on the task of sponsoring these artists over a long-term period. In this way corporates could find ways to use art as form of team building, especially with some of the activities in pot making and textile places,” said Ndlovu.
The Ribola Art Route largely supports the art industry in the Limpopo province and has been subsidised by various government departments and non-governmental organisations over the years but there is still a need to establish it as a go-to art destination.