You wake up to the sound of whistling songbirds, the only pleasing thing in your overall existence. You squint at the glaring sun as it illuminates a room devoid of habitat —with bare walls and a pile of loincloths in the corner. After rubbing your eyes, you lift off the plain white sheet, revealing an untamed body shrouded in hair and nothing else.
For what’s the point of looking good in such an artless world?
“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” — George Bernard Shaw
We consume art, not as an innate desire, but as a fundamental human need. In fact, it is as important as the food on our plates.
We see art in the past, where ancient civilisations communicated their stories via hieroglyphics. Even way back to the Neanderthals, who fashioned the skin of animals for their own modesty and protection.
We see art in the future, where masterful imagination is able to penetrate. From the stories we conjure to the ideas we dilate.
Indeed, we see it all around us — from the decorated interior of our humble abodes to the myriad of manmade marvels that lace our bustling streets. Cars, clothes, consumer goods. Music, movies and musk sticks.
Everything we create is made from art.
But far too many of us take it for granted as if it will always be there. And due to its necessity and accessibility, it always will.
But the harsh reality is it needs a market to survive, just like everything else.
While on the flip side, we the art consumers are now confined to our homes, with boredom creeping into our wayward minds. It is, at this moment, where we turn to the arts for salvation. For some scintilla of sanity in such an insane world.
Yet with the oxymoron termed “social distancing”, the only way to truly indulge in art right now is through the digital sphere. Most especially with performance art.
And, my oh my, how we’ve been groomed into downgrading the value of it. Whether it’s cheap shows on Netflix or cheap music on Spotify, we seem to undervalue our artistic market.
We cannot imagine paying for something that doesn’t seem that useful or necessary. And with the copy-and-paste availability of art, most especially performance art, we do not evaluate it with a price tag.
But art takes a whole lot of willpower to create. A whole lot of time and effort. And for this, we need to value art as a commodity; one that enriches our soul.
Because we cannot take all art for granted. Without some sort of profit, how will an artist survive in a capitalist world? Indeed, why would they bother at all?
Good art should be treated the same way as great food; with a decent payment. It should be given the respect it so rightly deserves.
And especially at this time in our fragile lives, we owe it to our artists to help us get through this tumultuous time. They are an essential worker at the moment, more so for our sanity than anything else.
And that, to me, sounds more valuable than any other commodity. Including that of toilet paper.
So if you see your favourite small-time artist live-streaming online, please send them a few dollars. Their livelihoods have depleted and you need their help to escape the reality of this troubled world.
Because a world without art is simply unbearable.