Creative Feel: As an artist, how has the lockdown impacted your daily life?
Thenjiwe Nkosi: Well, our flat is small, it’s a one-bedroom flat, so my studio space has shrunk considerably! Also, I’m trying to create time and space for my child (who’s nearly 4), trying to help give her a feeling of some kind of normality at a time that is anything but normal. This means I can’t spend as much sustained time in front of the canvas as before. It has become more a question of making time – sometimes making it out of nothing – as opposed to how it was before, when my time was more or less assured. What this means practically is that I’m getting less done every day. The work progresses more slowly. I’m just having to adjust to that and be patient.
CF: As a contributing artist to The Lockdown Collection, has it been a valuable experience?
TN: It was a valuable experience on a couple of levels. Firstly, I feel so grateful that I was able to contribute to the Solidarity Fund and to the Vulnerable Artists Fund using my skills as an artist. I am thinking about other ways to use these skills, as well as my experience building connections between people and ideas, to help forge stability for people moving into a future that’s looking very unstable and uncertain.
The experience was also valuable to me because, for the first time in a long time, I finished a drawing. Drawing with pencil on paper is not a big part of my practice anymore, and it was a good challenge to get into that space again to create the work for The Lockdown Collection. I found myself using muscles and parts of my brain that I hadn’t for years, which I was grateful for.
CF: What does an average day look like for you under lockdown?
TN: We’re up just before 6:00 so we can take full advantage of the three-hour exercise window. My partner and I give each other turns to go outside for an hour while the other one stays with our child. Then we meet outside all together for the last hour. Some days we walk down to the zoo, where we look at the cheetahs through the fence, and some days we go to our neighbourhood park, to enjoy the grass and the trees. Then, from 9:00 on, it’s mostly playing and working (or trying to work) and running around the parking lot of the building.