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UNESCO observes annually 15th of April as World Art Day

During the 40th session of the General Conference of  UNESCO, held in 2019, it was proclaimed that annually 15th of April will be observed as World Art Day.

UNESCO maintains that Art nurtures creativity, innovation and cultural diversity for all peoples across the globe and plays an important role in sharing knowledge and encouraging curiosity and dialogue. These are qualities that art has always had, and will always have if we continue to support environments where artists and artistic freedom are promoted and protected. In this way, furthering the development of art also furthers our means to achieve a free and peaceful world.

The world body is positive that the observance of 15th of April each year as World Art Day helps reinforce the links between artistic creations and society, encourage greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions and highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development. It is also an occasion to shine a light on arts education in schools, as culture can pave the way for inclusive and equitable education.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, in her message on the occasion has stated: “Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made emphatically obvious during the coronavirus disease  (COVID-19)  pandemic.  With  hundreds  of  thousands  of  people  directly  affected by the virus and billions more either in lock-down or battling the pandemic on the front lines, this World Art Day is a timely reminder that art has the power to unite and connect in times of crisis.

“Since March 2020, we have seen a multitude of artists and institutions lead resilience-building cultural initiatives. The time of COVID-19 is thus, undeniably, also a time of opening up towards others and to culture, which reinforces the relationship between artistic creation and society. In order to weather the crisis and inspire the future, we need not only educational continuity, but also cultural continuity: neither learning nor culture must stop. Our Organization would thus like to pay tribute to the solidarity shown by artists and institutions at a time when art is suffering the full force of the effects of a global health, economic and social crisis.

“Indeed,  the  extended  closure  of  museums,  theaters  and  concert  halls  and  the  cancellation of concerts and festivals have plunged many institutions into uncertainty. In a sector where employment is often informal and unstable, and in the absence of an  appropriate  social  safety  net,  artists  and  culture  professionals  too  often  find  themselves  helpless  in  the  face  of  the  loss  of  income  brought  on  by  these  circumstances.

This shows us just how much we need to accord artists appropriate status, as urged by UNESCO’s 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist, in order to bolster respect for their rights and boost the resilience of arts and culture. Furthermore,  for  the  public,  this  period  is  increasing  inequalities  with  respect  to  access to culture and the diversity of cultural expressions. The measures being taken severely limit the public’s ability to enjoy cultural goods and services in their diversity.

“These inequalities are all the more acute for vulnerable groups, which are ordinarily affected by the digital divide – such is the case of millions of women and indigenous peoples – and are having even greater difficulty in gaining access to culture.  The  challenge  of  keeping  art  alive,  now  and  in  the  future,  is  therefore  twofold:  to  support culture professionals and cultural institutions, and to promote access to art for all. In a challenge of justice and equality, and in order to better identify priority needs, it is necessary to listen to all the voices of the artistic world in their globality and diversity.

“It was thus with the aim of affirming the resilience of art in this period and preparing for the future that UNESCO launched, exactly one year ago, the “ResiliArt” movement. To date, more than 1,200 artists and professionals have participated in hundreds of debates throughout the world, making it possible to formulate 100 recommendations to inspire political action.These  challenges  can  only  be  met  through  far-reaching  cultural  policies  aimed  at  helping creative communities overcome this crisis and protecting and improving the status  of  artists. 

“was  in  this  very  spirit  that  in  October  2020  UNESCO  published  Culture in Crisis, a policy guide which details the concrete support measures which States have taken to assist the cultural and creative industries. “Just as man needs oxygen to survive, he needs art and poetry.” This crisis reminds us, as emphasized by Aimé Césaire, how much art and culture are vital needs for humanity, how much they are the ferment of our unity and resilience. By taking part in this movement of great cultural momentum, let us all prove that in this period of social distancing, art brings us closer together than ever before.”

UNESCO encourages everyone to join in through various activities such as debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations or exhibitions. | YouTube Channel

Dr. Iffet Sultana

Prof. Dr. Iffet Sultana PhD (Education), IQRA University, M.Phil. (Environmental Education) IQRA University, Master’s in Educational Administration & Management (University of Karachi). Dr. Iffet Sultana has been associated with IQRA University as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Department of Business Administration since 2013. Her PhD Thesis is on “Girls’ Access & Equity in Primary Education in the Slum Areas of Karachi”. In the past, she has worked for the Ministry of Environment, Government of Pakistan. She has presented numerous research papers in National and International Conferences. Her areas of special interest are Girls’ Education, Inclusive Education, Environmental Education and Gender Studies. She has been actively teaching and stimulating student’s interest in Social Science and Developmental Sciences Subjects including Education, Sociology, Psychology & other Contemporary Subjects. Dr. Sultana is also associated with various NGOs in the capacity of Consultant. Writes for News as Contributing Editor (particularly focusing on the UN International Days.)