Why is it important to continue creating art during the pandemic?

Published March 24, 2021, 11:12 AM

by John Legaspi

Even in a time of public health crisis, making art is as essential as hand washing

A year of fear in home isolation has put things in a different perspective. Forget the rat race we all lived in our pre-COVID time, people from all over the world are reminded of the things that are essential to life. Safety, food, proper hygiene, family, among others, are put at the top of the list. 

During those early grueling months of community quarantine, when we can no longer bear being inside seeing the faces of the people we see every day (come on, admit it), we cling to arts and other creative activities not just to keep cabin fever at bay but also to help us stay sane. 

Arts, in different forms, have made our pandemic life bearable, whether we are aware of it or not. As we still continue to count days and months in community quarantine, maybe it is safe to say that creating art is as essential as hand washing these days. To prove just that, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with Filipino creatives here and abroad to ask them why it is important for artists—even regular people—to dive into their creative spirit during the pandemic.

Art is a form of medicine. Can you imagine a world without music? We would die instantly. I think artists, whether you do performing arts or music, are like a form of pharmacy to the people. Art, especially music, always gives the people the vibrations, the vibes. Like my song “Amen,” talking about a very dark time in your life where you have to say goodbye to someone, or maybe you lost someone that you dearly love, somebody died, or whatever, it can give people the feeling that “hey, somebody understands.”—Vincent Bueno, musician, Eurovision 2021 finalist

I think that artists are the storytellers, the thermometers, and shapers of culture. For us to stop creating during at such a time as this would first, not fulfill the purpose of the artist/creative. Second, to continue creating will shape how people live whether it is through new products and designs, or have objects and work to delight in and to feed the soul through beauty. That is a form of a breath of fresh air.—Lilianna Manahan, visual artist

Being in a pandemic is absolutely draining for artists especially with postponed projects or having limited resources in making their craft. But in this new normal, creatives are given new ways to express themselves and continue making art. I believe that it’s important to continue making art because we’ll never be certain when all of this is going to end. They say the pandemic isn’t a practical time to produce art, but in these times that we live in, waiting for a more practical time would be like waiting in vain.—Leighton Angcan, filmmaker

For creative people, it (creating) is one way of sustaining a good mental state while we adjust to the new normal. When challenges arise, then we are forced to innovate. That is a good thing, that is how we flourish as creatives.—Ia Coca, fashion designer

We need to have something to look forward to after this pandemic. Honing our skills, learning new things, and creating new things will help us build not just ourselves but our relationships with others. Doing art is not just creating a drawing or a painting. For me, it’s searching for new things, and building and creating stories out of these new things, and sharing these stories with others. These shared stories and experiences will help build a better future for people. I do think that is the reason why we need to continue doing art despite the pandemic.—Paolo Dumlao, performance artist