ResiliArt: Female Artists from the Gulf in the face of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the whole world, plunging the global economy into a recession. The current health crisis is likely to cost the economy US $1 trillion during 2020 (UNCTAD), while one estimate shows that five to 25 million jobs will be eradicated, wiping out USD860 billion to USD3.4 trillion in labour income (ILO). The current health crisis has enormous global ramifications for the creative sector. The pandemic has impacted the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access – and considerably weakened the professional, social and economic status of artists and cultural professionals.
Still, art is resilient. Many artists and cultural professionals have imagined innovative and creative solutions, often by using digital tools to continue their activity streams and to connect with the public. Music, songs and dance allow individuals to express themselves and maintain social ties amidst the travel restrictions and home confinement.
Yet, access to culture can often be restricted to certain social groups, with women and girls in particular facing complex barriers to participate in the cultural life of their communities. Unequal opportunities for women to share their creativity with audiences; ‘glass ceiling’ for women to reach management and leadership positions or to participate in decision-making processes; persistence of dominant views on gender, negative stereotypes and limitations on freedom of expression based on gender; and sex-specific challenges related to accessing specialized technical and entrepreneurial training as well as financial resources. These challenges have been gravely amplified but the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNESCO Office for the Gulf States and Yemen and ZeeArts are organizing a ResiliArt aiming to engage and embrace the experiences and initiatives taking place in the Gulf region by female artists during the lockdown due to COVID-19 and to explore the possible new regional trends, ecosystem and value chain under the Art Connects Women initiative. The webinar will bring together female artists from Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and moderated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to discuss these urgent issues among each other and with the public.
In a nutshell, ResiliArt is a global movement initiated by UNESCO that aims to strengthen the resilience of artists and cultural professionals in the face of the enormous challenges posed by the current health crisis. It is an online debate series with key industry professionals and artists – both established and emerging – that raises awareness of the far-reaching impact of the pandemic on the culture sector as well as the importance of cultural and creative industries for economic development and social cohesion. It also aims to support Member States in the development of policies and financial mechanisms that can help creative individuals and communities overcome the current crisis.
To joint the debate, please register via this link.