Written by Anne Wanyoike.
The global pandemic has but not only left us with memories of what a “normal life” looked like, but more so it has robbed us of what it meant to be normal at one point in time.
As usual, I was taking my walk around the Dome for some inspiration. This particular cold Wednesday evening, I went straight to the point and looked back at a very empty and (almost) lifeless Sarakasi Dome, as though she was sitting in agony and disbelief of what once was. There I was writing my article, where Kelvin, an acrobat, was juggling and doing his usual flips. He continued to practice, very oblivious to the fact that there was one audience member, me. I always seek to hide myself at a specific dark corner as I work (creatives find the most awkward positions to channel inspiration), and that’s why he couldn’t see me. Suddenly, I came out clapping for him, because of an act that he had put on, which was seamless.
Later on, we started chatting about the arts industry and his general convictions as an artist. The journalist in me could not resist turning our conversation into an interview. So I proceeded to ask him why he had stayed behind when everybody else had long left the Dome. “I am very passionate about my art. This is the thing that saved my life, and now the only way to save it, is by doing it.”, he answered. “…I know that this past year, we artists have been thrust into an unprecedented system shock, where all that we knew, was suddenly halted and we had to look for other ways to survive…” At that I left the Dome with so many questions and musings, which I shall be sharing in my subsequent articles.
That got me thinking about how art has continued to be dismissed and disregarded for a long time, where it is often seen as an afterthought or something that we can do without. The truth, we cannot do without it. It is no doubt that the arts sector has been hit hard by the global pandemic and to sit through this hardship has sparked a keen interest within me, to not only dream better for the arts, but to dream anew. Many people turned to music, dance, books among other art forms as escape, from the global pandemic and its vast implications. We have had to be normalized to art and the various expressions of it; may be it was a matter of life and death to choose art- for those like me who chose art, we have gotten to live.
If only we protected art and artists the way they protect us, if only we delighted art the way it delights us. We have to yet make strides in advancing the arts as a collective, and our job is quite simple; to let art save us before we end up running out of ways to save it.