its aftermath in various ways. Barnaby Barford, who works across a range of media from film to large-scale sculpture, says, “I took my studio home with me to where I live on the outskirts of London and did lots of work on canvas and paper.” An online exhibition with his gallery, David Gill, of “word drawings” from Barford’s Truth and Lies series then translated into a surprising number of sales. “All we did was to make a very simple web page for the new work on paper,” he says, “and that seems to have encouraged people to look at my past work.” As part of this trickle-up effect, a major commission came through for one of his outsized apple sculptures for a private collection in the South of France, from an entirely new client. Zizipho Poswa, a ceramist in Cape Town whose work takes inspiration from her own situation as a Xhosa woman in contemporary South Africa, found herself back at home too, but with no access to her studio. “We were seriously confined to our homes and I really missed the smell of clay,” she says. “I’d fired a piece just before the lockdown was declared and had left it to cool down in the kiln. Those weeks at home, wondering how it turned out, were torture. I was so tempted to go and take a peep. Returning to the studio was like a homecoming, but once we were back though, the challenge was having to complete work before the curfew started.” “It’s true,” says her gallerist Trevyn McGowan of Southern Guild, “our government was very proactive. But we reacted swiftly at the gallery, organizing ourselves to work remotely. It allowed us to shift to a richer kind of storytelling through video and digital content, and it has meant more outreach and interaction with our clients.” One outcome was a call from Georgina Jaffe, a local collector who is developing a collection of contemporary works celebrating the symbolic, and material, properties of southern African hair and hairstyling. Jaffe had learned about Poswa’s work from a video and has since acquired a major piece from her Magodi series. “She wanted the one named after my grandmother, Mampinga,” says Poswa. “She visits me in my dreams.” “I feel like I’m part of an emerging community of people who have realized they don’t want to live their life in a completely exhausting way, but want to stay in touch, and to have experiences,” says Adelman. “We’re just doing it in different ways.” Ways which, it turns out, are extremely, unexpectedly, successful.
Caroline Roux is an arts writer
Salon Art + Design 2020