The Sunday News
THE arts have many uses and it is important that content creators are aware of these before they produce any work. Knowledge of its uses may make it simple for content creators to have specific targets for their work. Many times, we have content creators crying that they create so much work that is hardly consumed by the people. Questions that always come up after these cries are; what was the intended purpose for the content and who were the target audiences. Sometimes we miss the mark completely by producing for the wrong target market.
Anyway, here we are in the middle of a pandemic. Many artistes are crying that they are not able to work because of Covid-19 protocols which have most bars and performance spaces closed. But if we look closely at it, not all artistes produce and perform in bars or the so-called closed spaces. There are still opportunities for other art forms and other arts that do not necessarily target bar patrons and huge performance spaces — in other words not all art is for entertainment.
Art for information and education.
In this time of the pandemic there are so many opportunities for this kind of art, art that informs and educates at the same time. So many NGOs and even Government itself are doing a lot of education and information dissemination around Covid-19.
Artistes could take advantage of these opportunities and create content on Covid-19 — what it is, how its spread, what is being done to try and stop its spread. They could do these campaigns in a more entertaining way and even get paid for it. If only we were united and knew how to get these opportunities and spread the work among ourselves.
Art for healing
The pandemic has brought so much suffering to almost every family. No one has been spared. The trauma will be with us for a long time. Art could be used to help people deal with their wounds, scars and traumas. Specific content targeting the affected and seeking to help them deal with their loss, scars and everything could be produced and pushed towards this specific target group. Again, there are opportunities here. It just needs a group of artistes — across genres even, to create a movement around this specific art form. Art that heals. Or art that helps one, or even the whole nation or world to heal.
The term might be problematic because many of us have come to think that protest means protesting against the government only. Protest art has been useful in many countries and many sectors. Take for example the pandemic we are in at the moment. We could use our art to protest against how information about the pandemic is getting to the ordinary people. We could protest against how Covid-19 resources were handled both at international and national levels. We could have so much content here. And artistes can get paid while at it!
Covid-19 came. We were all affected. The stories have been dark and gloomy for everyone. People are tired. They need something to lighten up their life, something to make them forget what is happening at the moment. Escape art. Something to take the people away from this gloom and darkness. Some artistes could work on this genre and help families, communities, nations and the world to forget, even if it’s for an hour or so, about the pandemic and the devastation it has caused. There is a gap here. It needs to be filled.
Art as a repository of history or keeper of historical records.
The pandemic came. It messed up the world. Nothing like it has been seen before. 2020 and 2021 will forever be remembered for the pandemic. It is important that we have pieces of art that specially are created to capture this historical period, painful as it may be. Again, artistes need to stand and be counted. We could go on and on about the many uses of art in our lives but space will not allow us. As conclusion, we want to say art is important and plays various roles in our life. We should stop seeing art only as some form of entertainment. Entertainment is just but one of its many functions.