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Life under lockdown: An interview with Thenjiwe Nkosi

CF: How are you continuing to ‘consume’ the arts?
TN: Well, in a bunch of ways. I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram, like a lot of people do, I guess. But what I do enjoy about that platform is I get to keep in touch with what people – visual artists, musicians, etc. – are doing and producing. I’m also a mentor in a programme for mothers who are artists, so I’m working with a small group of women, looking at their work online every week, giving feedback, which is wonderful. I’m really enjoying that process. We’re also listening to a lot of music in our flat, having dance parties! It’s a good way to get everybody moving. This week, we’ve been paying homage to Little Richard.

Thenjiwe Nkosi, Coach, Pencil/Watercolour on Paper, 21 x 29.5 cm. Created for The Lockdown Collection

CF: How are you remaining creative/maintaining your creative output?
TN: I think each day takes a lot of creativity, just trying to make sense of this incredibly uncertain, perplexing, sometimes frightening present. And also trying to shift and change as things develop, and keep imagining the future. It’s going to take a lot of creativity to build a world in which things are different from how they were before. Because I think it’s pretty clear that that’s what’s needed. Every day I’m thinking about how I want to contribute to future landscapes, using what I know. This thinking about the arc of history has always motivated me and informed my work. It has another edge to it right now, but the basic feeling is the same. How can I use my work to make a world I want to live in?

CF: What 3 things could you not live without under lockdown?
TN: I’m feeling very lucky at the moment to have a warm flat, running water, and enough money to buy food. Each day I’m made aware of how there is little more to ask for.

CF: What are you missing most about the outside world?
TN: My parents. I made them go into lockdown a couple of weeks before the actual national lockdown was instituted. I’d been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading about the pandemic since late January, even before the situation in Italy became intense, so I was very aware, and concerned, from early on. And as soon as the first case arrived in South Africa, I told them to go inside and not come out! My father just had his 85th birthday last week, so I really missed being able to hug him for that.

To find out more about Thenjiwe Nkosi or view more of her work, visit her website here.

View, read, and watch even more of Creative Feel’s Life Under Lockdown interviews here.

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