So Donald J. Trump is a reality for us all. But on the bright side, historically, his election may be good news for some of us: the creators. Here’s how.
Resistance needs creativity
In a world (movie voice) where almost anyone can start a cause, raise and issue and argue their viewpoints, the revolution won’t be televised, it would have to be promoted via Facebook ads. Or get creative. The last four years of an Obama Presidency, a popular president by general standards who seemed to be able to talk himself out of any situation, meant that the need to protest has somewhat been dulled. A Trump presidency would require creative ways of reaching out to people. More so, with Trump at the helm and his penchant for pointing out and isolating groups of people from time to time, the need to protest would be spurred on more than ever.
Oppression gets creatives inspired
Art is a form of creativity, but also a form of protest. Trump’s election has brought with it strong feels of hopelessness, despair and pain – all very dark places that creatives go to create. In Paris, 150 years ago, painters would submit their works to the prestigious Salon where thousands would get the dreaded stamp of ‘R’ for rejected while the select few would actually succeed and be featured in the gallery before the who’s who of the City of Light. A small select group of artists, consistently rejected for not matching the aesthetic of the Salon, decided to get creative and host their own show, for their own style of work. Today, the work of the Impressionists hang in most major art galleries in the world. They protested the status quo, going up against the de facto authority on art. And in essence became that authority.
Creativity offer a counterpoint to power
Raw power is rare, while the US Presidency comes close to it, it is countered by checks and balances. Still, it has the ability to trounce the viewpoints, lives and realities of the oppressed and minorities, particularly those of the opposing team. Raw power was best demonstrated in the Nazi regime, and was it not for artists and artisans, the stories of their trials and tribulations would have vanished. Almost exactly one year ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened an exhibition on the world of ‘art created in hell’: works of art by Jews crafted in the bowels of Nazi camps. Was it not for these creatives, their story would never have been known and their history never recorded.
Protest art gets people talking… about art
If it wasn’t for the Iraq War, prevailing economic and political conditions, the now infamous street artist Banksy would never have found his way into the popular consciousness. And if you think he isn’t, even some street art follows in his aesthetic across the streets of Port of Spain, San Fernando, Arima etc. A whole world conversation on whether street art was even art got pushed to the forefront. In Russia, music band Pussy Riot shot to fame staging unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances aimed at President Vladimir Putin. More at home, 3 Canal reformed their image from a J’ouvert product with their “Blue” song to the fiery protest song “Talk Yuh Talk” and a stellar series of Carnival shows aimed at then PM (Prime Minster) Patrick Manning. There was even a pot shot at the British Queen and the PM’s meeting in one such performance. But the people loved it, and talked about it and the shows became even more popular. And out of it was born a new brand of for the band: one of resistance.
While there is anticipation and trepidation reading the US Presidency to come, no doubt that several creative careers and works of art would be born out of it. May creativity trump it all, with a side of understanding, tolerance and love.