At 5 p.m. GMT+1 on October 17, Morocco’s International Center for Diplomacy will highlight the challenges the art sector faces amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the new age of digitalization, as well as the future of plastic arts post-pandemic.
In difficult times, art is often a source of light and positivity. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has left many artists struggling to make ends meet.
Amid the new culture of social distancing that accompanied the coronavirus crisis and lockdowns, the art sector has been one of the most affected industries. Multiple art events including concerts, book fairs, museum exhibitions, galleries, and film, art, and literary festivals have lowered the curtain.
Postponed and canceled events have left artists feeling uncertain, many even in instant financial ruin and in fear of the long-term effects of the crisis. Individual artists are the hardest hit as they struggle to maintain their businesses and clientele, burdened by an uncertain future.
In Morocco, the International Center for Diplomacy (ICD) aims to bring awareness to this plight and help turn the tide for artists across the globe.
The center is set to organize on October 17 a digital conference on “The Future of Plastic Arts Post COVID-19.” The conference will begin at 5 p.m. GMT+1 on the platform Zoom be broadcasted live on the organization’s Facebook page.
Featuring artists from around the world, the conference aims to shed light on the genre of plastic arts during the global pandemic and discuss COVID-19’s impact on artists and the future of the sector.
In these challenging times, art has proved to be a vital element in spreading awareness about the virus, transmitting health guidelines, and sharing creative messages of hope. Art also helps us as a community connect with the world around us in a time where physical interactions can be dangerous.
Morocco, just like other countries, has made efforts to support struggling artists that were most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, from supporting artists and projects to purchasing the work of hard-hit creators.
Independent initiatives and associations, including ICD, have also played a big role in maintaining the sustenance of the art and culture sector in Morocco.
ICD’s role and objectives in Morocco
Karima Rhanem and other influential members founded the International Center for Diplomacy as a non-profit organization in 2011. The objective of ICD is to promote Morocco abroad and contribute to its development through youth and women’s empowerment in leadership, advocacy, and diplomacy.
The center aims to bring up the next generation of non-state ambassadors that will represent and advocate for Morocco internationally and cooperate with various organizations across the globe to strengthen the country’s friendship and partnership with other nations.
In its 10 years of operation, ICD has managed to uplift 5,000 actors in different fields, while its core members have participated in hundreds of important international events in more than 40 countries.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the center managed to power more than 30 partnerships at the African level, reinforcing its South-South cooperation strategy. More than 100 African experts have participated in more than 60 online debates initiated by the center or in partnership with other organizations.
In an interview with Morocco World News, ICD President Karima Rhanem outlined the role of art and artists in the organization.
“The International Center for Diplomacy has always promoted cultural diplomacy in its programs, as we believe artists can play a key role in awareness-raising and the moralization of public life through artwork, in addition to the friendship ties it can make with other countries who can connect beyond borders or political conflicts,” she said.
The future of plastic art post-COVID-19
Plastic arts refers to art that is characterized by modelings, such as three-dimensional art (sculptures, ceramics) or any category of visual arts such as paintings.
To elevate the essential role artists play in cultural exchange and diplomacy, ICD has organized an important conference on the future of plastic art post-pandemic.
Rhanem intends to moderate the discussion alongside ICD’s artist and cultural advisor, Naima Acherkouk. Renowned national and international artists, art critics, and writers are set to attend.
Attendees include Afif Bennani, writer, artist, and president of the Moroccan Syndicate of Plastic Arts and Photography. Also on the guest list are the former art instructor Youssef Saadoun and Moroccan art critic Chafik Ezzouguari, who is also the artistic director of “A Farm With an Artist” and presenter of the “Nakous El Fan” program.
Other attendees include Iraqi writer and member of the Union of Swedish Writers Hamudi Abed Muhsen; photographer, artist, author, and composer Risk Kiran; plastic artist Maria Karmadi; and writer, civil society actor, and plastic artist Mustapha Ghazlani.
The conference aims to shed light on the state of art in general and plastic arts specifically amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, and how artists are coping with the changing cultural landscape.
Through the sharing of artistic works, the conference will also draw attention to other challenges the art sector faces amid the rise of digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, as well as the future of art after COVID-19.
“This conference is important to us as artists and as a diplomacy center,” ICD cultural advisor Naima Acherkouk told MWN.
“This is organized within the framework of our response to COVID-19 by mobilizing different actors to assess the impact of the pandemic on different sectors,” she continued. “Plastic arts is one of the many sectors impacted by this crisis.”
The pandemic pushed ICD to “think outside of the box” and develop “new approaches and models post COVID-19, especially that the world now is witnessing a rapid digital transformation,” Acherkouk added.
ICD’s uplifting of the arts will not end with the October 17 conference. The center is also organizing a virtual exhibition on October 19 with the participation of 40 artists from 17 countries who will be displaying work reflecting their perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis and works made during the confinement period.