As published in the March 2021 issue of Accordion Stars Magazine New York.
Publication date: February 12, 2021.
Here is what I think of alternatives for artists during this pandemic. “As a visual artist, scholar, activist, university professor and manager of a new program that supports artists, small creative enterprises and arts NGOs in Lebanon, Nabad, my humble advice is first to not lose hope, although the current situation seems impossible to bear. In Lebanon for instance, not only do artists have to face the challenges of the pandemic, but also an acute socioeconomic and political crisis, as well as the cumul of traumas following wars and lately the Beirut port blasts. My second advice is to look for alternatives versus the traditional or mainstream ways of making, marketing and disseminating arts and culture, such as through virtual concerts, online exhibitions, webinars, online courses including workshops, etc. The Nabad program for instance is supporting the organization of “Tiny Gigs” by our partner Beirut Jam Sessions for local artists. Concerts are unplugged, both live (with a maximum of 30 participants while respecting physical distancing) and virtual; and tickets are affordable to encourage people to attend these concerts. Also, we will be launching a not-for-profit digital platform in February 2021, Arleb, which features hundreds of artworks for more than 50 emerging and established local artists, free of charge.
There are many other projects that we are supporting, and although they can be defined as “small scale projects”, they provide at least means of survival and contribute to the collective will to let the arts and culture heart beat again. A third advice is to be open to compassion, solidarity and of course. conviviality. We need to encourage one another in our individual art paths but also be open to work together towards more inclusive and humane societies.