We need art now more than ever

The cultural and creative sectors are among the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many artists in Fiji, this means many are relying on one meal a day and doing what they can to plant and grow food for themselves and their families.

However the pandemic has also opened new digital opportunities and a new era of survival approaches, both in our private and professional spaces.

For those whose art form require close interaction with clients, the border closures and the sudden end to global movement also meant that regular income ebbed to a trickle by the end of 2020. Now in mid-July 2021, even that trickle has stopped. Artists have been pushed to request food hampers, feeling the pinch of a seemingly-abandoned sector.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned in September 2020 that the impact on the cultural and creative sector could last for years: first it will feel the absence of purchasing power (from the drastic drop in both local and international tourists). A reduction of both public and private funding for arts and culture, especially at the local level, could amplify this negative trend. The downsized cultural and creative sectors will then have an (negative) impact on earning power but importantly, the vibrancy and diversity of our communities.

The OECD predicted a massive digitalisation process as lockdowns  occurred, with the expectation that demand for income would push private and public providers to online platforms. It warned however of the need to address digital skills shortages and the severe job losses caused by the demise of live shows.

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