COVID 19 pandemic has dealt a significant impact on cultures around the globe. The Arts and Culture sector which largely depends on the traffic of humans to various destinations has now been placed on hold until further notice.
Individuals and companies alike, are trying their best to uphold the safety rules and measures in preventing the spread of this virus. As much as they will love to help, the tension as to when this whole pandemic will swim away lies deep in the heart of so many.
Early this year, across the globe, cultural organizations have had things well thought out for or planned as regards the promotion of diverse sectors in the art. From exhibitions to music tours, events, performances and even tourism have been placed in the list but as we match into the year, the music changed and most plans have been cancelled or kept at bay because of COVID 19.
Movement within and outside the countries are also limited. If there is no movement within, how would people relate? Not to mention outside one’s country. With no movement, comes, primary closeup of companies, with companies closed, arrives the losses of jobs and without jobs, appears financial difficulties and with the difficulty of finance, criminal activities are bond to increase. Where has COVID 19 left us then even if it vanishes over night.
As cases of COVID 19 increased, the number of individuals and companies in the culture business shot down. Resulting in the loss of jobs and downsizing.
There are many youths in our country today, who exclusively rely on the arts and cultural enterprise. The question is, Where will they go from here? To salvage this crisis, they run online for shelter with little resources at hand through documentation.
The effect of COVID19 has left a mark on so many countries in this short period. Its effect can be compared to the impact of conflict in a zone, lack of funding, terrorism, climate change, and insecurities especially in developing nations like Nigeria. The strongest blow, however, was on the travel and tourism sector with a decline of over 90%.
Meikles Limited, a company leading in hospitality said the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe shut operations at the unset of the pandemic and the date of re-opening remains unclear. The Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town South Africa is also closed due to the virus outbreak.
Vivid Exclusive Art Gallery artist, Gabriel Jideonwor, said his Art trip scheduled to Europe has been placed on hold due to the virus.
The coordinating chairman, Guild of Theatre Art Drummers GOTHAD, Williams Isioma, said she had to cancel her ongoing workshop sponsored by the Korean Cultural Center Nigeria and other shows which are private. They are exhibits that require an audience and this also can, in turn, burst her career in the Art industry. However, due to COVID 19, this will not take place.
Patry Chidiac Mastrogiannis director at Alexis galleries said that the lockdown has done much damage. He said that it has killed the business.
Culture and heritage sites, tells of the past of a people, they build community fellowship, brings development, serves as encyclopedic for historians and an object worthy of admiration through the lens of a photographer. Sadly, this sites are becoming old laced shelter.
“Sociocultural norms and values
that are at the center of African
societies now face a severe risk
of disappearing into oblivion”.(UNESCO)
Africans have always lived in a communal environment. Day to day activities and doings depends largely on the relationship with one’s clan. Going to the market, Age Group meetings, going to religious Center, Festivals, Marriage rites, and a lot more. With the effect of COVID 19 and the rule of social distancing, how would we share communal interest?
It will be very difficult for most people in Africa to practice social distancing. Have you seen our markets?
It’s flooded with individuals who rely solely on the sales of the day. Small-medium businesses make up for 50% of the market population and If they don’t sell, that means no money and that gives rise to hunger and starvation. This, however, will be the leading cause of death rather than COVID 19.
Social media channels undoubtedly are tools that make Art visible to a larger audience. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram permits artists to share their creation to their fans and followers – the artist can do all this from the comfort of his home.
Art sales via the Internet is not a new prospect, however, due to the effect of COVID 19, virtual dispensing of Art through the net is a great chance for a new trend in the global art market.
On Thursday 14 May 2020, the National Council of Arts and Culture held a conference to set up agenda for the creative industry. Amongst those who were present was Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director General of NCAC and also Mr Israel Eboh, President of the National Association of Nigeria Theater Arts Practitioners. (NANTAP).
Runsewe, who is also the President of World Crafts Council, African Region, said the creative industry is not only the cement that binds one’s heart and soul alone but the entire society and nation.
He, therefore, admonished Art creators to grab the opportunities before them. To think of diverse ways to set there works apart. He went further to say the government should pay more attention to the creative sector now, more than ever.
Until a cure is found, the Arts and Culture industry will have to adapt to the change and learn how to mitigate the effects after the pandemic is over.