One of the sectors that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic is our country’s arts and culture. With social distancing measures put in place, a lot of projects and events have been put on hold: film festivals and artisan fairs have either been postponed or canceled entirely, while theater and film productions have been halted.
The lockdown has also prompted museums and art galleries to close their doors. A number of these institutions run the risk of staying closed for good, thanks to lost revenue or lack of funding.
Despite this, the arts and culture scene has been one of the things helping us get through quarantine. Here are some of the things that have helped us discover new forms of art and get through these trying times.
No museum-hopping, no problem
Since physical museum visits aren’t an option for the time being, a number of museums from around the world have turned some of their notable exhibits into virtual tours that everyone can enjoy from the comfort of their homes.
Thanks to heritage preservation projects like Pamana.ph, museums closer to home have been making their way to our screens as well. Organizations like Grupo Kalinangan, meanwhile, have made it possible for us to support the museums who have yet to make the shift to digital.
Taking some of our favorite film festivals home
The cinemas might be closed, but that isn’t stopping film festival organizers from sharing short films and movies to their audiences. Just take a look at the “We Are One: A Global Film Festival,” where 20 major film festivals worked together for a global streaming event last April.[READ: 20 major film festivals will be holding a 10-day free digital festival on YouTube]
Local film festival organizers have also turned to online streaming platforms. Aside from promoting the skill of our country’s filmmakers, these film festivals have also used these events to talk about relevant issues and promoting heritage.
Don’t forget to support your local artisans
Although aid has reached indigenous communities, the sad truth is that it’s not enough to sustain their means of living. The Ayta Mag-indi, for example, noted that government assistance came in late and only benefited less than 10 percent of the community.[READ: IP rituals can only do so much against COVID-19. Gov’t will have to step in]
Lockdowns have also prevented these communities from going out and selling their food and artisan products, meaning they don’t make any income to provide for their families needs. Fortunately, there are organizations that are willing to help—all we have to do is make sure these products use weaves correctly and that the IPs are treated right.
In memory of all the heritage sites we lost
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all good news. Although there have been efforts to help maintain and digitally preserve cultural institutions such as churches or museums, the same can’t be said for heritage buildings all over the country.
2020 alone has seen the demolition of several important heritage sites all over the country—and with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ restoration fund cut from the 2021 national budget, we might see more in the year to come.
Writer: ANGELA PATRICIA SUACILLO