Jessica Amorim ︎

Image: Reproduction.  

Of which contexts are we talking about?

Since we are here on the internet, are we making the most of the possibility of going further when it comes to accessing more narratives?

The pandemic continues and with it the unveiling of social issues and its problematics. Each day, more and more, the layers of this global crisis deepen and, when everything is shaky, art and culture, which are no longer the system favorites, are even more on the verge of a collapse.

Without wanting to make a grim debut, I believe that keeping an eye out is what makes it possible to feel the hopes: a survey by Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization based in Washington DC, revealed that 62% of U.S. artists were fully unemployed and more than 94% experienced a loss of income with the pandemic. This reminds us of the confusions in understanding who really is an artist. In Kenya, for example, the government created a fund to ease this tension among art workers, but did not include visual artists in the document. A more dramatic situation is the case of the Philippines, in which the government censored and blocked the transmission of the country's largest channel, thus threatening cultural and artistic institutions, which led Filipino artists to accuse the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, of exploiting the crisis of health for political gain. And here in Brazil things are not very different, right!? Just remember that the dismantling of the culture has been going on for a long time before the coronavirus, a project that was intensified by the culture of lockdown through the cancellation of major events around the world. And so, artists everywhere are trying to find alternatives for those times, like lists of resources and opportunities for freelance artists, or specific calls for quarantined production.

However, it is also necessary to remember that within each situation, the contexts and narratives are numerous, and some of them are more delicate. Lucas Veloso, a journalist and co-founder of Agência Mural, did few articles on the subject during quarantine, mentioning that most of the artists he talked to have talked about their financial situation. After all, the struggle around here is usually about producing today to eat tomorrow, which makes long-term planning quite difficult. In a quick exchange with Laerte Breno, a columnist from Voz das Comunidades and a popular educator, he reinforced these gaps when talking about the artists from his hood, the Favela da Maré in the North area of Rio de Janeiro, who have an even deeper lack in the sense of visibility, support, structure and resources.

Speaking of the involvement of public authorities here in Brazil, Federal Law 14.017 / 2020, better known as the Aldir Blanc Law, has the idea of offering emergency aid to artists, collectives and companies operating in the cultural sector. In fact, it came along due to the difficulty of many artists in accessing Emergency Aid. But the question is: are these public policies well structured to reach those who really need them? In episode 6 of the Quilombo Periférico podcast, we can hear Gil Douglas, who is part of the management of the Ermelino Matarazzo Cultural Movement, talk about the difficulty of accessing these tools, which doesn’t offer effective solutions about the inequalities present in culture.

In this sense, we can see that the movement of support coming from community and peripheral communication, which was happening before the pandemic too (always good to reinforce), is what has contributed to the artists in these contexts. After all, the hegemonic media usually talks about the hegemonic artistic class, right!? Laerte here: “We usually think that the State is the enemy of any peripheral geographic territory, but not only. The hegemonic media also plays this role of collaborating with misinterpretations of what we really are”. Which also reminds us of Silvio Almeida's speech during his participation in Roda Viva back in July, about how the media are colluding with the construction of “who belongs” to subordinate places.

During this pandemic period, then, to stay informed of the narratives of non-consecrated artists it is important to follow the independent media, which has been engaged in sharing collective funding directed to the production of young artists, or disseminating online festivals of independent cultural producers, or contributing in the visibility of new creations.

If art should not be for a specific niche when it comes to production, let alone be it as a consumption of it. Since now we are inserted in a limited context of access, we need to do that homework to understand where our views and cookies are, after all the algorithm of what is consumed is not created alone.