Lockdown in South Africa has brought many changes to daily life for all of us. Creative Feel spoke to Kim Berman, Founding Director of Artist Proof Studio, a professor in visual art and artist, about what life under lockdown looks like for her.
Creative Feel: As an artist, Professor in Visual Art and Founding Director of Artist Proof Studio (APS), the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has surely had deep impacts on every aspect of your daily life?
Kim Berman: It has. I feel like I am working harder than ever. The first 21 days of launching The Lockdown Collection (TLC) was intense and amazing. My role in the team was to invite and liaise with the artists, making sure we had statements and images from them by 10:00 each day, so it could be designed and posted on social media by 14:00. The synergy and teamwork between the founding partners – Carl Bates, Lauren Woolf and myself – was inspired and extraordinary. Together, we felt we could move mountains! Working with them and their teams is a phenomenal learning experience for me and has left me feeling enormously humbled to be collaborating with such abundant spirits. On the 25th day of Lockdown, after the amazingly successful Unlocking Event and auction that raised a record R2million, our third term at the University of Johannesburg started! Getting all our classes online has been a challenge. On that Monday, I held my first two online post-grad classes. I am now finding a new rhythm with this way of connecting with students.
Time under lockdown feels like it has no bounds and is relentless in that it never switches off.
APS has had significant challenges over this time; but a dedicated and energetic team has been supporting many of our students and artists under extreme stress. Like many arts NGOs, our futures are tenuous and uncertain.
CF: What does an average day look like
for you under lockdown?
KB: I wake at 6:00, sometimes earlier, and start with all the unattended emails I didn’t get to the day before. I am forever trying to catch up. My days are filled with Zoom meetings, consultations, classes, endless marking, course administration and relentless UJ committee work. And yet, I count my blessings at having the work, wonderful colleagues and collaborators, the opportunities, the networks and friendships that can make the time we have, really matter.
CF: How are you continuing to ‘consume’ the arts?
KB: The arts keep us all stimulated, creative and motivated. My pile of books next to my bed, however, remain largely unread. My night reading is students’ thesis chapters and online articles. I have been watching and listening to some amazing music concerts and films, and can’t keep up with the consistent and quality streaming of arts programming online.