Update from Qudus' blog

Dec 16, 2011

On Art and the State.

This sort of friday morning musing is to finally speak my mind on this issue that had played with my mind for too long... It is the issue of the State of the Art and the Art of the State.

As an artist, If there are two states i'm most familiar with, that will be France and Nigeria... Obviously. But when it comes to art and the state, sure there is no much to say about Nigeria, for you to eat as an artist in Nigeria, you better do many things at a time, being multi talented in Nigeria is not only a possibility it is in fact a necessity.

However. I think...
A great hazard has hit the face of art and creativity in France. (i guess that's no news)

Going out of an art school, the first thing in the mind of the young artist is to make his '507 hours' put up a file for 'Pole Emploi' in other to acquire what we refer to as 'Assurance Chomage' which is the unemployment insurance scheme in France. It is a very tricky thing to say though, as millions of artistes benefits greatly from this system, which allows them to at least boast of a permanent monthly salary - only that it is paid by the state.

It sounds like a communist idea no?

I guess its a way to be part of the system, the system that can only find its bearing by creating tags and stickers in which we all must fit under, but i've always thought that the real purpose of art is to NOT fit within such frame, but to be a mirror of that very system, so through art we can keep a distance with life as we know it, then build a capacity to feel, to experiment, to analyze, to empathize, to criticize and to question and share emotions using various methods; dance, music, painting, photography, drama, poetry - comic, tragic or whatever aesthetics we are familiar with.

To what extent do this 'Assurance Chomage' makes a damage? Is it not one of the basic control tools in the hands of the state to keep a continuous control upon its creatives? to own and have primal control on our basic source of living, which is quite scary for an idea.

it is a fact that this is a full-time occupation; (i.e our only source of living)
Training schools now established; (gradually being conditioned to fit into a system)
Associations established; (a power system and hierarchy necessary, so they know what button to press when they need to single us out)
Codes of professional ethics introduced; (Standardization + dos and don'ts also necessary, in order not to step beyond boundaries)
State licensing laws established. (finally we are part of the system of slaves)

These tools in the hand of the states has gradually and stylishly transformed art into "one of those things we control" The pyramidal system of art in France makes it absolutely impossible for artistes to exist (i mean exist literally) without being part of that pyramid in whose top is the minister of culture "yes you are free to do whatever you want but within this prescribed space" Through such Pyramid, the government have erected a vicious system of power tussle within art administration, that distracts the creatives from the affairs of the powerful, who are the very 'infidels' of the creative faith, i'm really thinking strongly what system is in fact best for art?

One that is too close to the state, and responsible for our daily bread - in a sort of sexual gratification; such in France? or that which has no single recognition, suffers lack of infrastructures and creative spaces, and gradually mutates into the enemy of the state, such in Nigeria?


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