WORDS Amelia Brown IMAGES courtesy of Everard Read
After the success of Everard Read‘s first digital exhibition, entitled Staring Straight To The Future, which raised almost R1.4 million for the Solidarity Fund in a week, the gallery has put together another collection of its celebrated artists.
The title of the second digital exhibition Us, chosen after one of the pieces by Brett Murray, poses the question within the context of a country in lockdown: How much more are we all “Us” now? Once again, 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the fund.
With galleries in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and Franschhoek, the idea was conceived by Everard Read as a way to support its artists and contribute to the collective effort to assist those whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The response from artists and collectors alike was remarkable,” says the gallery’s director Charles Shields of the first exhibition.
“When deciding to pursue these exhibitions, we had no idea whether there was an audience at all, given the major concerns at this time and the economic repercussions faced by many. What was remarkable was that, within minutes of sending out the announcement to our database, we had nearly 300 requests for the catalogue. While nothing can replace seeing a work of art in the flesh, we’ve been heartened to see the response to the collection of images audiences can view online.”
Featured artists include the likes of Beezy Bailey, Deborah Bell, Nelson Makamo, Ricky Dyaloyi and Sanell Aggenbach, amongst others. Charles noted that in selecting these two bodies of work, it was striking how poignant the artworks had become in the context of an impending universal lockdown and a time of isolation and separation from so much of what makes us human.
“Industry, community, nature, exercise, revelry – whipped away in the space of a few weeks for an indeterminate time, leaving us to practice the more subtle arts of being human: restraint, compassion, meditation, contemplation, interiority. These are the preserve of artists most of the time, who almost invariably work in isolation. Certainly a lot of good art emanates from some form of inner struggle with life, and so it follows that in a time of adversity it can act as a sort of balm whilst triggering contemplation.”