Conversations With Myself - Lungile Mbelle. Photo Credit: Supplied

The Lockdown Collection (TLC),  Artist Proof Studio and the University of Johannesburg Visual Arts Department are delighted to announce the launch of The Student Collection –  a portfolio of 21 artworks created by 21 student artists, reflecting on Covid19 and the lockdown.

 

South Africa (12 July 2020) – The Lockdown Collection and Artist Proof Studio proudly announce the launch of The Student Collection a portfolio of 21 artworks, created by 21 student artists, to reflect on the COVID-19 lockdown through the eyes of South Africa’s youth.

It is significant that this new Collection was launched during Youth Month, after all, the stories of young
artists in lockdown are evocative and it’s important to share and understand their multifaceted experiences
and points of view.

The Student Collection extends the reach of the initial Lockdown Collection giving student artists access to funding, support and the opportunity to grow their public profile.

21 young stories of life under Lockdown

The Student Collection is represented by 11 students from Artist Proof Studio (APS) and 10 students from the
University of Johannesburg’s Department of Visual Art a diverse collective of creative young visual storytellers.

These remarkable artworks have been showcased online from 1 July 2020, thanks to a generous sponsorship by Art Insure ITOO (their sponsorship facilitated the purchase of half of the Collection).

A limited-edition of very affordable A4 prints, derived from the original Student Collection works, will be
available for purchase from the APS website https://artistproofstudio.co.za/pages/student-collection from 10
July 2020. This is the perfect opportunity for amateur art collectors to start or build their art collection, all
while supporting young artists when they need it most.

The proceeds of the Student Collection, as well as the sale of these prints (and also any donations collected though The Lockdown Collection website – https://www.thelockdowncollection.com/donate) will be directed to the APS artists and the Vulnerable Visual Artist Fund (VAF).

“Thirteen of the student artists in this collection are beneficiaries of the VAF, which means that they had no alternative income during this period. They come from impoverished circumstances and rely on their talent and creativity for their livelihoods. Other UJ students have had different challenges under lockdown, and have managed to make work from home-made materials, to represent their struggles under confinement,” explains Berman.

She clarifies that, as some of the works are not archival and were made with alternative materials that were available during lockdown, a set of limited edition prints are being developed for sale.

Art Student Collection and the Vulnerable Visual Artist Fund: A light in the darkness

The Student Collection artists are grappling with the realities of lockdown life, where finding motivation and creative inspiration – much less, accessing essentials and art supplies – is a tough ask. For some of these young creatives, simply surviving is a challenge.

“APS students, who come from exceptionally poor communities, do not have the means to pay their minimal registration fees or buy materials, and often use their student subsidy to buy food for themselves and their families. Teachers have been tasked with managing WhatsApp groups, and up to 35% of students have dropped off the list. They have no mobile data for their phones, which is essential in applying for funding or for food parcels. Some have no food or electricity, share a tap for scarce water, live in grinding poverty and have almost no means to connect. Some have sold their phones to buy food,” says Berman.

The feedback from the students has been moving. Many report that the process of art-making is healing, while the support of the APS and UJ educators has bolstered their sense of well-being and community during a difficult time.

Yet it’s the funding, provided via the Vulnerable Artists Fund, that has been especially powerful. The Fund has already distributed over R1 million to vulnerable artists.

“It is such a blessing that the funding came at a time of great need in my life where most financial avenues were closed. I managed to feed my family of six and I could afford to buy a bit of art material, which I started working with during the quarantine period,” wrote one artist.

Another Fund beneficiary is the sole breadwinner in his household (a space he shares with his mother, his brother and sister, as well as his son and his partner).

“My mom also tries to bring in some money by selling at a local market but it’s hardly enough. I have been selling at the Maboneng Precinct street market for three years now and I was doing very well. In December last year, I made R10 000 and I only went there three to four times a week, so I had been very excited about the year ahead. The Lockdown has made it impossible for me to feed my family and to fund my future projects,” he says.

“What you have done for us puts humanity first, prioritising people over enterprise. I was able to provide for my siblings; I bought groceries and art materials to ensure that I am productive during this Lockdown period,” wrote another artist.

Join the Student Collection artists for a live panel discussion

On 16 July, 2020, at 17h00, the Student Collection team will be holding a live online panel discussion. VANSA (Visual Arts Network of South Africa) will be hosting this exciting event, which will also be streamed via Facebook. The Student Collection artists will be participating, to discuss their works and the TLC initiative. VANSA director, Refilwe Nkomo will lead the panel discussion.

Guests are invited to join this online event, via the VANSA website or on the VANSA Facebook page.

For more information about The Student Collection, visit the Artist Proof Studio website, or follow The Lockdown Collection social media pages:

Covid Warrior- Angelique Bougaard
art
Etre Femme (To Be A Woman) – Cinthia Binene
art
Umbila – Jason Langa

Sources: Press Release – Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier
About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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