A lot of things have changed in the past year and despite the constant fear, frustration, uncertainty, and weariness, it appears that on some level change can be a force for good. What was also apparent was that a lot of things didn’t need to change; they actually needed to be smashed to pieces and rethought completely. At least this is the case for the creative industry here in France – I have no extended knowledge or direct experience about the working conditions that my peers living in other countries face.
If you type ‘France’ and ‘Culture’ in Google one of the first ‘hits’ is an article from Business France titled “France, a country worldly renowned for its culture”, followed by another article titled “France possesses an exceptional culture”, after that Wikipedia page for French Culture, and pages and pages of more articles praising France for its ‘exceptional culture, fascinating museums and institutions and vibrant art scene.’ Being a French visual artist who has lived in several countries, I can confidently assert that our art scene is far from vibrant, and culture is far from being a key priority for our current government. The budget cuts to the Ministry of Culture have been drastic. Institutions, museums, and galleries have closed. Artists are jumping through hoops to try to get governmental help they are entitled to. It is quite apparent that in our neoliberal society, we are neither ‘essential’ nor ‘profitable’. It’s all too clear where the status of artists in France stands in 2021, and the lack of consideration the government shows reveals this to us a little bit more every day...Read the full article in the printed issue. Get OVER Journal 2