by James Jamu

The Covid-19 pandemic has put the future of the art world in an uncertain position.

Many artists around the world depend on mass gatherings to make a living.

The drastic halt of events and business in this industry has compromised the livelihood of stand-up comedians, visual artists, actors and musicians.

A modern David and Goliath story has unfolded.

Goliath is an insurmountable avalanche predisposed to shaking the world up.

Scrawny David in our current circumstances is a collection of artists and curators entrenched in a continuous battle to preserve their right to expression in an unstable era.

Courage the Comedian, prominent stand-up artist and writer, explains how the pandemic is affecting him.

“I thrive on making people happy, making them dance and laugh. I’ve been forced to look into other ways of making money. Mentally, physically and financially I am exhausted,” he says.

Courage popularised the Free Your Mind comedy showcase as a leading act on several occasions.

His unique satirical approach to social issues from a “Nambabwean” perspective garnered him respect for his sheer originality.

The closure of the Brewers Market and other entertainment establishments has left him without a crowd or a stage.

“I foresee the future of work for me as a stand-up artist in line with advertising – collaborating with companies to endorse our broadcasted shows. Comedians like me will be forced to focus on writing scripts for sitcoms similar to the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’,” says Courage.

Painter and digital illustrator Nambowa Malua says he has embraced the power of social media to build a client base long before the pandemic broke out.

“I have used this time for introspection – a time to reflect and create art for society to engage with. The future of work for me remains in looking inward,” he says.

Nayasha Kirsten, musician, theatre director and curator under VM Productions from the band Savannah Afros, says: “I know how to create – whether there is space or not. I walk with my body space as an archive.”

He believes the future of artists has always been uncertain and the lockdown serves to reinforce this. Kirsten is impassioned by the pandemic and continues to think about the future of art as an individual, confident his story deserves light like everyone else.

Clearly the pertinent question is about financial security, but, like scientists, artists are motivated by their inventions.

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