As the pandemic thrashes industries worldwide, a certain faction of professionals is severely affected. The impact of the outbreak has laid bare the already perilous economic climate in which the majority of the artists live; also, the disparity that exists between a handful of illustrious artists with gallery associations and well-off collectors as opposed to the mainstream who manage a lifestyle from multiple gigs. Surely, the contagion has unveiled that the arts are exceptionally unappreciated in society, as is customary. Although artists are doing everything in their capacity to cope with the coronavirus, it is pushing them to harbor deeper connections with their collectors and audience to bring forth some degree of likelihood and sense of community.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ARTISTS
What is distressing several artists is not only the loss of revenue from sales and other subsidiary modes of income such as teaching but also that their ability to finance a roof over their heads and their studios? In the interest of Space Studios, London, when advising tenants demanded rent, artists remarked that this economic downturn is aggravating uncertainty and inequality in the creative industries and uncovering non-viable practices that have been tactically disregarded by employers for far too long.
Meanwhile, Arts Council England has made £160 million of emergency funds accessible for those organizations and individuals who are struggling financially. A couple of grant programs have, too, been refocused to further compensate discrete artists and freelancers for lost wages. Yet, the regulations and standards are strict and it will be tough to be eligible. Besides, there is an aid in Germany, given which state they are from and their amount. An artist observed that even if the art industry is a huge source of income in Ireland, there is no method of assistance for their survival.
The vitality of social media and online interaction has become a medium between the isolated self and the universe. Few are fearful and this palpable shift has taken a toll on their mental stability. However, many have cited this unparalleled time as a golden opportunity to reexamine particular facets of their practice or merely evolve. Artists have realized that this is the ideal time to replenish and renew their understanding, and reconnect with their values and purpose. They believe that this culture ignites a sense of community, something that is fundamental.
ART PROJECT TO ADDRESS RACIAL DISPARITY OF COVID-19
Carrie Mae Weems, renowned, award-winning Syracuse University Artist in Residence incorporates photographs, film, and video to do social commentary. She has devised a new-fangled project known as “RESIST COVID TAKE 6!” The ‘TAKE 6’ in the title refers to the prescribed six feet of segregation in social distancing.
The objective of this project is to introduce public consciousness about Covid-19 within people of color. Statistics demonstrate that the virus has not just disproportionately affected African Americans, but it has also disclosed the racial inequality. This new initiative will be endorsing precautionary procedures and dismissing detrimental misrepresentations, while, too, paying reverence to front-line and essential workers who have put themselves in danger.
At any rate, the project will magnify to communications on local radio and social media posts, as well as making people aware of physical elements such as posters, flyers, shopping bags, and so forth. Materials will be manufactured in English, Spanish, and Onondaga language.
HOW ARTISTS ARE CONTRIBUTING IN COVID-19
A local arts group in Spokane, Washington is attempting to assist artists who have lost business and musicians who cannot perform. Melissa Huggins, Spokane Arts executive director, unveiled that $25,000 of Spokane Arts’ fund and a share of the Jeanette Harris Trust to its Spokane Artists and Creatives Emergency Fund, which is meant to help artists in the community who are struggling monetarily because of the coronavirus.
She divulged that they are hoping demonstration of this initiative will help shed light on this matter and stimulate the community to support and donate further. Although the organization has already distributed slightly over $5,000, it still has $35,000 in requests outstanding, and she only anticipates the figure to increment.
BANGLADESHI ARTISTS ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19
Bangladesh Creative Forum, an initiative by country’s prolific visual artist Nazia Anlaleeb Preema organized a series of webinars with several fellow artists to address the issue of sustaining the creative industry during this challenging time and beyond. The webinar stressed the need to create a robust ecosystem via entrepreneurship, leadership, and digital transformation. Regarding the impact of this pandemic on artists, she observed that it is allowing artists to shift their attitudes. Other than this drastic change in lifestyle, they are also going through a psychological one, she noted.
Ashim Halder Sagor, Artist, Founder of Artpro Art Initiative added to that annotation that each day presents an opportunity to unearth their creative expression more innovatively to sustain and promote their organizations. It will ultimately elicit how artists perceive the post-COVID scenario.
Moreover, Kabir Ahmed Masum Chisty, Visual Art Practitioner, asserted that this crisis is indeed a very intricate time for all the artists of Bangladesh. He believes exploring these digital opportunities will prompt a revolutionary era. He also mentioned that although the circumstances are quite dire, it allows artists to shift their perspective. Thus, their creative expression cannot remain one-dimensional.
Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq, Co-founder, and CEO summarized his observations into two portions. Firstly, he remarked that artists are rather not adept in marketing or promoting their output; they must utilize the digital platform to integrate their oeuvre. Building a social media presence and generating interactive content such as videos will be effective for preserving art consumption. Additionally, this will help the artists to conserve and increase their engagement with the audience. Secondly, he highlighted the need to internalize online interaction. Activating a forum where various artists collectively execute a dynamic artistic experience will keep their creative expression viable. Therefore, cross-functional collaboration is imperative.
BANGLADESHI WOMEN ARTISTS ARE USING CREATIVITY TO COMBAT COVID-19
As Tahia Farhin Haque was strolling around the Shilpakala Academy Cultural Center in the Motijheel business hub of Dhaka in February this year, she was exhibiting her 2019 photograph production ‘Shadows of a Wooden House’ at the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), a nine-day periodic incident which demonstrates craft and architecture from South Asia in the focal point of Dhaka. Alongside priority on contemporary artists from Africa, Australia, South East Asia, and so on, the focal point of the occasion has consistently been on Bangladesh. In any case, the spotlight was on Haque, the Dhaka-based photographer with a swiftly developing status.
Carrying out a novel photograph series in solitude called ‘Colors of Confinement’, Haque is endeavoring to be productive regardless of restrictions, in which she records the dreamlike segments of her quarantine period. Tahia Farhin Haque; Tayeeba Begum Lipi, co-founder of The Britto Art Trust, and scholastics like Nisar Hossain, Dean of the Fine Arts Department at Dhaka University, are preoccupied with diverse activities, like producing masks and PPE equipment for medical professionals. Hossain revealed that nearly 4000 clinical isolation outfits and 1100 face masks have been dispersed by them to clinical organizations in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Chapai Nawabganj, Sylhet, Khulna, Barisal, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Joypurhat, and the Tangail and Narayanganj region.
On the other hand, Lipi has been utilizing the Britto Foundation to elevate the self-confidence for those in the art industry in Dhaka and to also foster reserves. Lipi expressed that she and her partner, artist Mahbubur Rahman are collectively concerned over the susceptibility of the local artists who are undergoing the most difficult time due to the pandemic. They believe that there should be an emergency aid assistance for artists introduced by the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, the sole state institution committed to craftsmanship and culture, as there are no other funding institutions countrywide that would assist local artists. Therefore, they launched a project called ‘ZERO WASTE: FoodArt’, in which via the mechanism of agronomy, crafting, allocating, or bringing together food, artists can set up money and construct an income stream from home.
While the likes of Carrie Mae Weems, Spokane Arts, Tahia Farhin Haque, Tayeeba Begum Lipi, and more have determined to disseminate medical information or provide financial assistance to their community and the most vulnerable colleagues, other artists have been inspired by this pandemic. Costa Mesa painter, Sauceda, for one, expressed that he is appreciative of the unforeseen time off work to spend with his family. His new project is a towering grass thrusting through an unoccupied lot where an age-old building was demolished and he has already chosen a spot in Costa Mesa.