Building resilience in the cultural and creative industries amid COVID-19

Art is deemed to be an expression of the human spirit because artists best express the human condition, for this reason the cultural and creative industry is integral not only to the economy but also to the human experience. 

It is unimaginable to think what life would be like without the sound of music, the visual pleasure of paintings, the historical reminders brought by sculptures and monuments. The learning of different cultural expressions makes up our global village and is central to human development.

Traditional places, spaces and faces are becoming increasingly obsolete in the way that the sector existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Artist Patrick Sam from Namibia struggled to find offline and online spaces to connect with people as the traditional mediums were disrupted. He highlighted that Namibians have always embraced the cultural and creative industry because it brings unity and joy to society, but that does not necessarily translate into significant public/private investment for the sector. This is because the sector is deemed as an expression of people’s wants and not their needs.

People will tell you that they like your art, but they won’t exercise their purchasing power.
Patrick Sam

To remain resilient, he resorted to creating work that can be explored once the conditions of socializing have improved.  

For this reason, new measures that ensure the visibility and impact of the sector must be continued in new innovative ways that ensure the safety and well-being of cultural organizations and cultural practitioners.

I know that Arts, Culture and Heritage are essential for human beings as it develops our intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Patrick Sam

Patrick Sam

Patrick Sam

To address the myriad of challenges faced by the cultural and creative Industry,  Patrick, who is the Chairperson of the National Art Council of Namibia, a Board Member of the International Federation of Art Councils and Cultural Agencies (IFACCA), the CEO of Creative Culture Investment and a poet has recently also become a film maker. He saw the need to participate in the resiliart art debates organized by the UNESCO Windhoek office in partnership with the Directorate of Arts (Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture), Turipamwe Designs and Joe-Vision Production.

Since the resiliart debates, Patrick has formalized a company called Creative Culture Investments, which looks at mainstreaming the intellectual property of artists within the Cultural & Creative Industry. This will ensure that artistic creations and cultural products and/or services are protected, promoted and monetized.  He is also in the process of completing the post production of his 1st feature film titled, ‘Blame’. The short film is expected to be completed in the coming months, and looks at the duality in relationships, and how humans can consume the joys of friendship but have an immaturity to processing people’s ability to hurt. This is intended at questioning how humans engage their powers and their faults. As the chairperson of the NACN, the council has launched an arts-based relief fund which supports art projects and work throughout the country. As the board member of IFACCA, the board hosted the Africa Regional Chapter Meeting with member states in order to understand how African member states can heighten the position of arts, culture & heritage throughout the continent. 

One of the activities carried forward from the resiliart debate is a mapping exercise looking at how the Cultural and Creative Industry can break the boundary of working in silo by sharing resources and knowledge. This mapping exercise aims to first understand what initiatives are available, how there might be overlapping functionalities and interests to understand and address possible action and recommend further collaborations for the sustainability of cultural practitioners and organisations.