Online auction helps locked down artists

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Johannesburg – To support artists through the novel coronavirus pandemic, South Africa’s Latitudes Art Gallery has joined forces with The Lockdown Collection (TLC) and selected art works from 21 upcoming artists to be put up on an online auction dubbed The Open Call Collection.

The curated collection will be auctioned via the Latitudes online platform from the 21st to the 25th of March, and featured artists include Thuli Libisi, Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, Vivien Kohler, Fanie Buys and Puleng Mongale, among others.

TLC co-founder Kim Berman said proceeds from the auction will be split between the contributing artists, the Lockdown Collection’s Vulnerable Artists Fund, and Latitudes’ outreach programmes. 

“It is a privilege to collaborate with these amazing artists. Their artworks capture the nuances of lockdown life and the effects of the pandemic. Their artistic reflections will become significant historical references for future generations, telling the story of this time,” said Berman.

Berman said TLC had called for new artwork donations and submissions and Latitudes had the responsibility to prudently consider all potential entrants.

Lucy MacGarry, as co-founder of Latitudes, said they anticipated that their international network of buyers would be enthusiastic about the collection; adding that the auction was an effective way of introducing emerging South African artists to global audiences in an exciting format.

“The Lockdown Collection has demonstrated that art has value that we cannot put a price onto. Art can mobilise a community, it can uplift the vulnerable and it can tell a story that moves us. For Latitudes Online, the partnership with The Lockdown Collection is a welcome opportunity to leverage the strengths of both our organisations,” said MacGarry.

University of Vaal lecturer Dr Isaac Zimuto hailed the TLC initiative.

“TLC is less than a year old but the organisation has done well in terms of supporting artists who were affected by the pandemic.  It would be more effective more organisations arise at different levels in different sectors. Community, provincial, national, regional, continental and global levels. People should have a broader thinking if the world is to beat this pandemic.

“TLC was formed last year but as we speak it has paid out R1,5 million (about US$104,000) from its Vulnerable Artists Fund to artists across South Africa and I am sure it has made some donations to the President's Solidarity Fund, in supporting the more vulnerable,” said Dr Zimuto.

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