Art in Dark Times

Art in Dark Times
Contributed by Neleisha Weerasinghe.

Current times, especially the year 2020 can be defined as a dark time in human history. With catastrophes continuously affecting life as we know it, the possibility of everything getting back to the way it used to be might just be a dream. With economic and basic social systems crippled, self-isolation practices and lockdowns are being followed on a global scale to curb a raging pandemic threatening human existence as we know it. Within these times, the changes in lifestyle have created the potential for unique possibilities whilst pushing us deeper into the path to reconsider decisions impacting the future.

Whilst the darker side of a catastrophe is at play, our focus should be on the light at the end of the tunnel, the time where voice is given to the unheard with art to amuse and console. As in the past when the works of Shakespeare were born to survive time and live through several plagues with theatrical masterpieces being created that are enjoyed to this day.

Adapt or Risk Ruin
Artists, among many other professionals affected by modern catastrophic scenarios require a digital presence in ensuring a strong foothold in the ever-evolving business world. Within the digital scope, creativity is bound to evolve further ensuring qualitative outcomes, which can be appreciated on a larger scale paving the way for a greater online audience than before. Galleries, museums, Auction houses and exhibition sites, require a competitive digital presence in order to enhance outreach and survive the tides of change. The negative side or the risks that were seen in online art buying are also drastically reduced. No longer do buyers require to actually view the painting or artwork and they are increasingly finding themselves making purchases based on an image. This highlights a major shift in the market, which is also a great opportunity for artists world over. For the art market, this means players such as galleries, auction houses, etc. must step up their game and adapt new means of delivering content to their audience and not wait for them to come to you. There is a great interest in this new mode of selling which the COVID19 threat seems to have heightened. Examples: Art Basel, Art Dubai and a host of local and international galleries and art events have opened viewing rooms online to view the work from locations of quarantine. Not only is this relevant to big industry players, individual artists, musicians, painters, performers etc. all need to get online and keep creating.

Self-isolation no doubt can be distressing, dull or a difficult time to think of being creative for some, but it is not something new for the freelancers or the artist working from home, they are familiar with isolation and the anxiety and worries that come from being a freelancer. These changes have been forced on many and an important time to take note of your mental health as well.

So, what can one do? Read on for some ideas.

New skills: For personal and professional growth it is great to keep up to speed with new skills. So why not take that illustrator, photography or any course online, that you always wanted to do.

Join an online group: In a time of social distancing it is a great way to share your creative ideas and your projects. It is also a way to connect and make new friends in this time of crisis. It is worth remembering that we are all in this together and it is important to look after yourself and support each other as well.

Creativity for your personal wellbeing: Creativity is said to be a great way to heal and drown out stressful thoughts and anxiety. So in these difficult days, why not work on something that is uplifting and brings joy. This type of creativity is different to what you do professionally or for financial gain. This can vary greatly from one person to another. Gardening and/or composting, reading, looking through some old scrap books or making new ones, learning a new craft, exercising, meditating, make greeting cards, painting your walls are just some ideas.There are plenty more available on the net with a lot of time to research.

Self-isolation can be challenging but does not have to be all bad and times of strife are times for growth. For artists, your work matters now more than ever so keep creating to uplift yourself and others as well.