As the pandemic moved over South Africa, during the first lockdown of 2020, governmental regulations stipulated that people were to stay at home. Bambolwami Sibiya was unable to go to his studio and unable to work in his usual manner. This period of isolation is what has inspired this exquisite artwork entitled, “Quarantine Partner”
The process of creating new artwork for Bambolwami is that he hires several models and directs them to create a portrait montage using people, objects, and layout. He photographs the subjects and uses the photograph to create the painting or print it back in his studio. During the lockdown, none of this was possible. Being an innovative artist, Bambolwami reached out to friends and family and asked them to send him images of themselves focusing on how the pandemic was impacting their lives. For many people, the hardest part of the pandemic was being separated from friends and family. “Quarantine Partner” speaks to these circumstances of 2020. The image paints a picture, being isolated at home, without friends and family, totally reliant on the radio for company. While this harks back to a time gone by, during lockdown the radio became a vital form of communication for many, not only reducing the loneliness but also keeping them abreast of what is happening all over the world during this unprecedented time. Bambolwami’s s love of rich colors and soft sensitive backgrounds add a layer of poignance to the work.