So, looking at where we are, what got us here and what’s to come: I thought I would share some thoughts on this early holiday morning.
As a young person, I am struggling to get a grasp upon the infinite amounts of information flying at me, or by me from day to day. The politics, the crimes and the disasters in the news seem removed from my experience yet they are the focal point of every onlooker around me. There are countless perspectives serving up countless opinions upon the same issues. My own opinions fall flat against the myriad of voices blaring loud. And what are the platforms we have to hear these voices? What looks like the most popular platform today only allows you 140 characters to express it, plus another 140, plus another 140 and then some. No one wants to read more than they have to. I am finding it exhausting to read even a full article, what’s wrong with me!
This weekend alone we saw an alarming stab at arts and funding for the arts in this city. A major news source, a major voice in this city called out this Festival for supporting a show that sympathizes with a terrorist. My immediate response was shock and disgust, but in after thought I wonder if I should be surprised by this at all? The issue at hand is a work of sensitive subject matter given how close it is to home, but going beyond the content and looking at the opposition to the arts in general seems truly frightening.
I think it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of those who would much rather do without the arts. Their priorities live elsewhere and who’s to say they should care about what goes on in this Festival? They don’t care, at least not until an article like this rubs salt in their wounds. There are plenty of services that deserve improved funding across this country and unfortunately the arts often face the guillotine first. As an artist I am biased in this discussion. I struggle to understand anyone who could spread such hatred towards this practice, but just as equally I desperately want to know more about their perspective. Hey if I can figure out the antagonist to what I do, I will improve what I do, if that makes any sense at all…
It’s too bad that this bizarre article came out just as we entered a summer long-weekend when thousands have fled to their cottages. Despite the negativity of this article I truly believe this is a critical reminder for any artist or supporter of the arts that we cannot sit back on our achievements and hope for the best. I hope that this article is not forgotten too quickly in the laziness of a hot summer. It would be a shame for many not to use this as fuel for a cause. For me it raises the question of why we feel the need to legitimize the art being created? Should we have to? Or maybe it is our responsibility to do this as citizens of a diverse community?
As I ride my bike up Bathurst street at midnight on a Sunday morning, I am reminded of our diversity, our connectedness. It’s a different night for everyone, from the girl heading to the Bovine, to the girl puking out front of Sneaky Dee’s, the frat boys getting a kick out of the old Chinese woman trying to pick their garbage for a living, the teenage couple screaming hate, to the teenage couple seeing the world as their own. I just want some sleep, an escape until tomorrow when I’ll want to take on the world again. Until someone writes another article that sparks my desire to prove the value of my work, I’ll keep observing.
“In the 300 years of our Industrial Age, this shallow history shouldn’t presume that we have all the answers.” Wade Davis