While sales are essential to business, Essers has other concerns. She said that South Africa has seen a 60 percent rise in unemployment, and the value of its currency has dropped by one-third. This means that feeding programs and support for the huge number of people with underlying conditions such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are at the forefront of her mind.
“It is at the essence of the gallery to focus on social projects, and I think a lot of galleries in Europe are not focused on this in the way that we have to be and want to be,” Essers said.
Sales are still happening in the contemporary African art market. And although things will undoubtedly be hampered by the pandemic, the sector appears to have a strong foundation. Affordable prices, value, and commercial agility have undoubtedly helped. Accustomed to operating internationally online and with a collaborative, adaptive spirit, the market seems to be surviving well enough for now.