UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa joined forces with ZeeArts, a global art activist platform, for a ResiliArt online debate on 16 July 2020 entitled “Art Connects Us”, which focused on global initiatives to support the creative industry sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the launch of the first global ResiliArt debate on World Art Day, 15 April 2020, which aimed to shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on artists, performers and other actors in the cultural and creative industries sector, over 100 national debates have been organized around the globe, including 30 in the Africa region.
The ResiliArt: Art Connects Us debate featured interventions by: Ms. Rebecca Anne Proctor, an artist, journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Art based in Lebanon; Mr. Khalil Abdulwahid Hassan, Director of Fine Arts Department at Dubai Culture in the United Arab Emirates; Mr. Quddus Mirza, art critic and writer based in Pakistan; and Ms. Karalyn Monteil, Programme Specialist for Culture at UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa. The debate was moderated on the Zoom platform by Ms. Zaahirah Muthy, Art Activist and Founder of ZeeArts and was simultaneously transmitted on Facebook Live. The discussions focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the panelists’ work, their impressions of national, regional and global initiatives to sustain the creative industries sector, and opportunities to enhance the creative sectors post-Covid-19.
During the debate, UNESCO shared information on global initiatives underway to support the Culture sector during the pandemic, including #DontGoViral, #ShareOurHeritage and #ResiliArt campaigns; the outcomes of the first global online meeting of Ministers of Culture to discuss actions to bolster the cultural sector; national assessments of impacts and measures being taken, which are published weekly in the UNESCO “Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker”; as well as initiatives & stories from UNESCO networks featured on a UNESCO map of COVID-19 initiatives around the globe, ranging from World Heritage sites to Creative Cities.
Throughout this pandemic, people around the world have turned to culture for respite and reinforcement, this has increased their awareness of the value of culture, but also of the vulnerability of artists, not only during the pandemic but before and after it as well. This increased awareness of the need to improve the professional, social and economic status of artists can help bring a change to culture policies and an improvement to legislation benefiting artists around the globe.
For more information:
ResiliArt Movement: https://en.unesco.org/news/resiliart-artists-and-creativity-beyond-crisis
UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist: https://en.unesco.org/creativity/governance/status-artist
UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: https://en.unesco.org/creativity/convention