Everything we do, whether we know it or not is political. Even apathy is a political statement.
I've always held that especially when it comes to art, the personal is political.
Politicians like to think and try to impress folks with their, hand shaking, baby kissing, and photo ops that this somehow has made their politics personal, but this is mostly smoke and mirrors, and is reflected in empty promises, particularly once they get into to power, when they start to towing the political party line.
Marsha Lederman's article I have posted below, from the Globe and Mail makes some pertinent points that are very insightful, and urge artists to get active and press our politicians to discuss the arts.
I especially love what she says about great civilizations.
"Great civilizations aren’t remembered for their tax policies; they’re remembered for their art."
Artists speak out about politics. Why don’t politicians discuss the arts?
Meanwhile, in Edmonton last weekend, tens of thousands took in the city’s first Nuit Blanche event. About one million people are expected at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche this weekend. Want to attend “An Intimate Evening with Lawrence Hill” at the Vancouver Writers Fest later this month? Sorry – sold out (along with 22 other events and counting).
Translation: A lot of Canadians are interested in art. And by art I mean not only paintings and installations but also the architecture to house them, the book you read in bed last night, the music you might be listening to right now, even that Netflix series you’re binge-watching. The arts contribute to our lives in a profound way, illuminating our condition or distracting us from it (there is honour in that, too). Art matters. And yet.
The arts have received a modicum of attention, with a few campaign announcements – the Liberals in particular have highlighted their cultural platform – and some talk about the CBC. (Full disclosure: My husband works for the CBC and I am a former employee of the public broadcaster.) But none of this seems to be getting much traction.
I get it: Child care, budgetary spending, carbon emissions, foreign policy – these issues are top of mind, and rightly so. But the arts are a key, consistent ingredient in the salad of daily life. For most of us, arts and culture have an impact far surpassing, say, “barbaric cultural practices” (or the niqab or marijuana).
Meanwhile, some artists are mobilizing, and not necessarily to discuss the arts.
“I felt like I could not live with myself if the Conservatives won one more time and I didn’t do what I could,” said musician Dan Mangan, who is leading the charge along with musician Torquil Campbell.
Take the Vancouver Art Gallery, which has been tasked with raising $100-million from Ottawa for the project. The Conservative government was clear that it would not provide that funding, and its position hasn’t changed. The Liberal incumbent for Vancouver Centre, Hedy Fry, told The Globe and Mail that the project might be eligible for funding under the party’s social infrastructure funding plan, depending on priorities. (The NDP and the Green Party did not respond to requests about this issue by press time.)
Below is a video my friend , artist Cliff Eyland made during the last Federal Election Campaign in 2008, when he spoke about how the Harper government was not supporting culture and the arts.
Here we are in 2015, seven years later, and the cuts by the Conservative government are widespread and deeper than ever. The message in this video is more relevant and increasingly more urgent now, than in 2008.