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The Covid effect on the local art gallery


The landscape is a changing one. Galleries are closing their doors as foot traffic is hindered by the fear of infection and the inconvenience of protecting against it. And while we scale back in cultural indulgences we grow obese on the steady fast food diet of social media.

Locally the traditional gallery structure has taken reluctantly to the online platform in a move that feels like too little too late. The voices that passionately disputed the ability for art to exist in a virtual plane now fumble through awkward virtual exhibitions and posts of recent artwork that lack any criticism or opinion and offer instead a limp hashtag to the like of #newart.

The rush to move online has been a global one and some galleries have seen success in doing so. However, the move has felt less innovative and more reactive and as such the efforts have fallen a bit flat.

The impossible question we are left with is how to grow the local art scene in a way that is sustainable for the future as opposed to filling a short term holding space until we can resume our pre covid ‘normal’. Organic ingenuity has always yielded the most powerful results when dealing with art and the solution may be in both how we produce art and how we consume it.

The temporary fall of the gallery hierarchy may open new opportunity for artists to leave the comfort of the sure sell for new creative expressions. While at the same time, as the gallery and artist as an individual occupy shared online spaces, the art buyer can expect to rethink the value structures they have become dependent on for fulfilling an art acquisition.

Whatever does happen we are pretty sure that, as far as art is concerned, what will survive are the obsessive and passionate. At the end of the day good art makes people feel and is a brilliant source of inspiration and hope. We can hope that the art and art market post pandemic will be even more vibrant, honest and relevant.


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Trinidad, W.I.