08 July, 2011

Is the Arts a dying industry?

The arts industry has certainly changed over the years. Arts has evolved from the days of carvings on stones and wood, paintings created from powder paints, to the more digitalised kind of art that features currently in the mordern world

1) “Yes, the arts are going down. The market is bad and there is no appreciation for our work. We come from far, Zimbabwe to South Africa and then there is no support. People create art and nobody supports. “
- Shakespeare

2) “Art is art, we sell different items. There is no one big place for artists to display their work, we are all separated. Art is about knowledge and yet there are no buyers. I will not come to Grahamstown again, it is expensive to travel so far and make no profit.”
- Fewawi

3) “No, arts is not a dying industry. I personally previously had no understanding of the arts but with all the book launches and artists that have been active in the festival, I see art alive. There is now a passion that I as a regular Festival goer have not seen in years. I feel though, that the structure of the fest should not have been changed. It’s now at Rhodes when it was previously at Church Square; the vibe of fest and the arts has since changed and not entirely positive.”
- Devon Cobus

4) “Yes it is dying; the arts are not like before. There used to be crowds of people but since the location of the fest has moved from town to Rhodes, the interest for Arts has changed.”
- Sabatha Smangwine

5) “Yes, there are fewer people interested in the arts.
No, the price of art has increased. If there was no demand, it would be cheaper.”
- St Andrews School, Grade 8

6)“Organisers are turning the arts into a flea market. We as artists are driven in different directions. God is art, art is bigger than us.”
- Andile Paswa

7)“No, art is very much alive. It cannot die, only the ideas of art die. “
-Seko Mbambeni

8) “Yes, I believe there is no formality in the industry, it’s just a haphazard thing. Connected people take initiative and exploit the less privileged who are just trying to make an honest living. Artists are struggling; local buyers feel that the market is over saturated. There are a lot of changes in Grahamstown, it is a small area for artists and there is not much activity to draw in clients.”
- Jonathan Pfumbwa

Some believe people have turned art into more than a way of sharing their skills and their creativity, but as a money-making sector, which is what is killing it.As much as art is a creative form of expression, it is still a means of financial stability and reliance. However, the price of exhibiting your work is not affordable for all artists therefore not all of them get sufficient opportunities to excell and achieve from their work. Art has to be appreciated, and people need to be given equal opprotunities to display and showcase their work, irrespective of what field or type they are in. Art is more about moulding our imaginary world into a reality, that we can share with everyone else.

By Duschanka Hitzeroth & Bhekimpilo Dungeni

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