Published: 02nd January 2021
The future of cultural spaces: How will events and performances look like in 2021?
The lockdown completely stopped professional engagements for the artists. Their slim earnings came to a full halt. This has lessons for many. The founder of Hyderabad's Lamakaan highlights them
Culture is the discovery of beautiful things in society. A song, a poem, a yarn, a painting or a joke that elevates itself from a mere expression to a sublime message, a searing question or a disturbing truth. Art is the business of creating that culture. As the long night of the pandemic comes to its inevitable end, we will count our losses and art will rise again as an essential part of any thriving society.
As mass vaccination gets underway by February 2021, as per the plan, we will see safety return to social gatherings in another two months, by April end. We hope that social and cultural gatherings will re-emerge around that time.
The lockdown completely stopped professional engagements for the artists. Their slim earnings came to a full halt. This has lessons for many: Art is no longer a bankable profession. Professional artists will have to, perforce, consider a second line of earnings that can sustain them through times like this. Being a full-time artist will be a foolhardy venture.
Paradoxically, this is the result of democratisation of culture through new media. Online access to poetry, plays, readings, books has provided almost free alternatives to paid cultural events. On the other hand, there are more opportunities to perform to smaller audiences who appreciate particular artforms. Places like Lamakaan and others that followed it have provided accessible platforms for a slew of new artists, writers and activists.
The rebuilding of our social fabric is also an opportunity to rethink the very nature of our social lives. Over the cups of chai, huddled around canteen tables, under the performing lights and under leafy trees of our towns and villages, shall we renegotiate a new society that is simpler and easier on everybody? Have we yet woken up our privileges, biases and anxieties that were laid bare in 2020?
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.
- Bertold Brecht
Ashar Farhan is the Founder of Lamakaan, the open and cultural space in Hyderabad