Art is a form of healing and recovery, and provides solace and therapy during times of stress. It helps safeguard mental and spiritual health, and reduces barriers between people, cultures and languages.
Art has also been used to spark social change and increase awareness about destructive facets of economic development.
Though the Covid-19 crisis has had a severe emotional and economic impact on the artistic community, artists are regrouping and reinventing themselves for the new normal. Many galleries now have online viewings, and artists are resorting even more to social media for showcasing their offerings.
During the extended lockdown, billions of citizens around the world are flocking online to watch movies, listen to music, and read books. Citizens themselves have become amateur artists by sharing videos of their creative works – ranging from cooking and dancing to drawings and graphic art.
Like rest of the world, artists in Qatar have also turned to social and digital media to highlight their creative strains and to socialise with each other. MAPS International is a platform where gallery and artists grow together. The art company has been regularly organising physical art exhibitions, workshops and festivals in Qatar till the pandemic hit in early 2020. The forum has also turned to digital platforms to organise and highlight its creative art and education activities.
MAPS International recently put forward its project ‘Future Vision of Canvas’ with post-Covid-19 perspective of artists. The art forum invited as many 66 artists from 35 countries to share their perspectives about the post-coronavirus art scene in a short video. Each artist was asked to share his or her perspective in a 30-second-long video. The videos were later shared on different social media platforms of MAPS International.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Rashmi Agarwal, founder and chairperson of MAPS International, dilated on the future vision of art. “All great things begin with a great vision. I am thankful to all the artists who beautifully presented their artistic visions through a short video. Through this project, we wanted to show the world that everybody has suffered from the pandemic and the artists are not an exception to it. They have suffered due to the closure of art galleries and museums during the lockdowns. However, they have beautiful visions for their canvas.”
Regarding how the project started, she said: “I started the Future Vision of Canvas with the belief that in near future everything will become normal. Soon we will be with our friends on the creative land. There will be festivity and togetherness again. Artists continue finding ways to keep people connected during this public health crisis. As artists, we have wider and much bigger responsibilities during the times of crises. We create with beautiful colours and make people’s life happier. Soon there will be a new beginning for everyone.”
Sharing their post Covid-19 perspectives, the artists from diverse backgrounds and nationalities highlighted the fact that no crisis or challenge can confine art. “Art is born in our spirits and the spirits cannot be imprisoned. Art will survive and so will we as artists”, said Mexican artist Pilar Ostolaza. Benaz Larses, a US artist, said: “In the time of crisis, art is priceless. It can turn mundane into a monument.” “I think life will become lot better after the pandemic. People will become more humane and artistic. We will build a better world through art,” said Patrizia Gallo, artist from Costa Rica. Shruti Mohan from India said: “The future of canvas is very bright. Everyone is trying to do their best work during the pandemic as they are at home and feeling good with their families.”
In her video message, Hafsa al-Tamimi from Oman, said: “Art is always alive in all circumstances, as long as the artist has the ability to transform the canvas from nothing to something of great value and message. All parts of the world are now in crisis but we can start again. We can consider that the world and art as endless circular and continuous thing because it is of high aesthetic value.”
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