Art Waart

The level of disconnect that the middle and upper class, especially in Karachi, have with regards to art is astounding. They want the best food, the best clothes, the best jewellery, the best music, the best novels and poetry and movies and theatre – but they’re not happy paying for it, and they’re especially not happy when their own children wish to make it their career.

The elite class is, perhaps, a bit more tolerant, as they can afford to keep their children fed and clothed while they “make art.”

But the middle class? The very thought of their child having to live in poverty, and thus becoming “one of the (maila) awaam,” is incomprehensible, and so they push their children into careers they do not want, or have no talent for, simply because it will provide them ” a better (read as: more monetary / stable / respectable) future.”

Art as a hobby? It’s cute and fun and interesting, as long as it’s a hobby. Art as a career? Are you crazy?

In a society where status is inherently linked to money, and success is measured by how much you earn, any deviation from the path to money is considered a grave sin. That’s capitalism for you.

A major portion of this mentality is brought about by our lack of education of the arts. Despite the UN Declaration of Human Rights stating – in 1948! – that the right to enjoy the arts and participate in the culture of their community is inherent to every human being, art is taught as a throw-away subject.

Parents have no interest in the arts, and so neither do their children, and thus the community at large, leading to an overall devaluation of art and artists, resulting in less people being able to make a career of it. It’s a vicious cycle.

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