3 Artists Sharing Inspiration in Isolation.

Alice Toich, Shakil Solanki and Alicia Van Zyl are using art to uplift.

The economic effects of the national lockdown continue to ripple through the creative industry. Three Magazine has rounded up local projects that have emerged to provide temporary solutions and support to creatives as well as spread awareness and help COVID-19 efforts (sometimes all at the same time!). Look out for our Lockdown Lists shining a light on such projects in the art, photography, fashion, video, music and events worlds.

The internet is filled with people telling us to use this time to create, create and create some more … Yet many of us have never felt so uninspired — even with all the news, it’s easy to forget sometimes that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

But there is hope! As we have retreated into our homes, the world has turned to creatives and the arts to entertain and comfort us through this period. As creatives are feeling very drained by this ordeal and are simultaneously feeling very guilty for not producing things, some inspiring art pieces by some inspiring artists may help you — to create, make change in your community or even just to have nice things to look at.

Here are our Lockdown Louvre prodiges:

Shakil Solanki

A graduate of the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, Shakil’s work is informed and inspired by artists such as Salman Toor and David Hockney, along with classical Indian and Islamic miniatures.

“I managed to do a last-minute supply run before lockdown began, so thankfully I’ve been able to keep busy in the past few weeks. During lockdown, I’ve been doing my best to stay productive, while also taking enough time to breathe, decompress and unwind.

At the moment, my work’s drifting between very fine, intricate details and looser, softer painterly marks. While visually opposite, I feel the two coincide to convey a deep sense of intimacy, which I find vital to my work. “


Alicia Van Zyl

Joburger Alicia Van Zyl is a freelance illustrator and cult leader that loves working on projects that have a positive impact on people and/or the environment. The creator of Free Protest Art, she aims to bring ‘humour and positivity’ to the world through graphic design, lettering, and illustration. 

As part of fellow artist, Koos Groenewald‘s #coronacommissions initiative, Alicia has been illustrating portraits for people who donate R300 or more to the SA Harvest charity (pictured above).

Her ‘Corona Cards’ project (AKA ‘Love in a time of Corona’) came about because Alicia was supposed to visit her lover in New York (pictured below).

 “When my flight got cancelled and countries everywhere started going into lockdown, having to postpone the visit made me feel a ton of emotions so I started channelling them into these cards. They’re mostly based on my own feelings, the jokes we make with each other while video chatting or experiences we’ve had. Even though they’re deeply personal, I hope other people can use them to connect with their loved ones during these weird-as-balls times.”


Alice Toich

As a painter, Alice Toice found mentorship from a young age through local painters in Pretoria and East London. She attended the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, where she is now a resident. 

She ran the #21daysofartSA challenge, hoping to inspire people, artist or not, to create through passive prompts.

“I hope your artist’s eye is starting to look at your immediate environment with new found wonder and excitement [for the challenge]! I call this ‘The Artist’s Eye’  because looking with it expands our sense of wonder and engagement. We start to see everything as an opportunity to compose beauty.”