Although the national Covid-19 lockdown moved to level four last Friday, May 1, relaxing some of the regulations, artists are still battling to get back on their feet as galleries are still closed.
Galleries are not part of essential services and many have now resorted to exhibiting online.
An exhibition by Asanda Kupa, called Relearn, My Soul, is being featured online by Burg Street based Eclectica Gallery.
In 2016, Asanda exhibited his solo exhibition Unlearn, My Soul at Eclectica. This has been followed by Relearn, My Soul.
Throughout the exhibition, his aim is to convey and explore change, for both the arts and the subjects he depicts.
The works reflect three stages: destructiveness, messiness, and fulfilment.
Asanda, who is a painter from the Eastern Cape, shared his struggles as an artist during lockdown with gallery assistant Kirstin Warries.
KW: How has your artistic process changed working in isolation?
AK: On a personal note – from July last year I moved out of the communal studio, The Bag Factory. I moved to a farm in the north of Joburg. Isolation at that time for me meant introspection and a chance to search within. The quiet and time alone gave me space to focus, I learned tight focus, and I appreciated life more because it became clearer to me, the things I wanted to say or do. So fortunately/unfortunately when Covid-19 hit SA, and the lockdown was implemented, it meant that I had to adjust to a new kind of isolation. This isolation is different to the isolation of not working in a communal study anymore. This isolation is an apartment, with a spouse and kid, with four walls everyday. This too wasn’t new to me, as I had familiarised myself with the home working environment, but now it is longer and more intense.
Surprisingly it has become more productive. I believe my work has been done as a collective – because I share information as I go and we are sharing in this experience together. Bearing in mind the impact from all aspects of life, from difficulties to ease, I am choosing a more positive and productive take on this time, encouraged by shared information and social spirit.
KW: What do you think the role of artist is in times like these?
AK: I think the role of the artist is to keep the creative spirit of the world burning, dig deep within for messages of the universe – to be conduits to the world.
KW: Are you currently busy with a new body of work?
AK: I have been producing paintings depicting typical SA township/ghetto setup, imagining how would families out there are coping and reflecting from my own experience of the now and the past. I’m focusing on illustrating interiors and introspection.
KW: How would you encourage the public to support artists and galleries during this time?
AK: It would be great if the public supported the artists at this time, although the galleries are closed and public engagement is limited. One way to show support would be to purchase the art.
For virtual tours of exhibitions, including Relearn, My Soul, visit eclecticacontemporary.co.za/virtual-tours