IN THE NEWS: Zainub Verjee: COVID-19 crisis has exposed hypocrisy about artists and their labour

“In times of uncertainty and fear during the pandemic lockdown, enjoying works of art—an online painting or performance or reading—has become a routine. Yet in a cruel irony, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed our hypocrisy about the artists and their labour. It reflects how the deeper questions on labour of artists, apart from lip service, continues to be an unattended policy issue.

Though the centrality of the role of artists in society has never been questioned, the strength or fragility of artists is in what we envisage. As the ironies of these times reveal, despite the legislation, the status of artists in Canada is uncertain. Today, the world of labour looks a lot like the way art labour has looked for decades.”

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Zainub Verjee says the COVID-19 crisis has reminded us once again about the imperative of making the Status of Artist Act more robust, meaningful, effective, and enriching for the community.

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