Art and humanities make themselves heard for the first time in Antwerp’s cultural debate: “Art cannot save the world, but without art nothing can be saved” | Antwerp

Read all about the cultural protests in Antwerp in this dossier.

The actress Karen Vanparys, known for, among other things, Kongo and Wittekerke and guest roles in Professor T., Aspe, Flikken and W817, has written an open letter with her fellow teachers in !Kunsthumaniora, in particular to cultural spokesperson Nabilla Ait Daoud (N – VA). “I realize that I am a privileged witness to what is happening in the art landscape. I sit in the front row when young artists show themselves for the first time. I sit in the front row of the theater watching them perform with pride. Or should I say: ‘so’ from now on?”, Vanpary’s tone changes.

She is seriously concerned about cultural policy and the consequences for the city. “Former Culture Councilor Eric Antonis (CVP) once answered unequivocally ‘no’ when asked if art can save the world. But he added that without art the world cannot be saved. If you – Nabilla Ait Daoud – are cut from the right cloth to fulfill your office, then you know it.”

Artists are passionate people. “They want to share their artistic practice, their creativity and their sovereign thinking. Not from an ivory tower, not from a sense of superiority, but from a great necessity. From a great social commitment.”

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Perhaps a similar need and concern prompts you, supported by all of us – as it should be in a democracy – to take up political office. Not just to make a living, I suppose, but also because you feel the need, because it’s important, urgent, because you have no other choice?”

“If you are cut from the right cloth, then you know that art is not about leisure, but about the necessity of life. About imagination, about deepening, about wonder, about emotions. But also about connection, about hope, about the future. About everyone. About everything. About now.”

“In these difficult times, we need more than one breath. And let that be the very thing that cuts you off with your decision: Breathe. You suffocate what you have to stand on the barricades for. You trample the seed as it germinates. And that’s disastrous. To cut the arts is to cut life, Madam Councillor.”

The open letter was signed by sixteen teachers from! Arts and Humanities. Read the entire letter at the bottom of this article.

Dear Madam Ships,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Word teachers at Kunsthumaniora Antwerp because I am concerned about the young artists and their future in the field. I realize: I am a privileged witness to what goes on in the art landscape. I sit in the front row when young artists show themselves for the first time in my classes, I sit in the front row of the theater when I see them perform with pride.

Or should I say “so” from now on?

I am also writing to you as an artist who is concerned about your politics and the impact on the arts in this city.

Former Culture Councilor Eric Antonis (you know him for sure: you stand on his shoulders, as it were) answered the question ‘Can art save the world?’ with an unequivocal ‘No’. He added this important thought: ‘Without art the world cannot be saved’.

If you are cut from the right cloth to fulfill your office, you know it.

Artists are passionate people. They want to share their artistic practice, their creativity and their superior thinking. Not from an ivory tower, not from a sense of superiority, but from a great necessity. And from a great social commitment.

Perhaps a similar need and concern prompts you, supported by all of us – as it should be in a democracy – to take up political office. Not only for your livelihood, I suppose, but also because you feel the need, because it’s important, urgent, because you can’t help it.

If you are cut from the right cloth, then you know that art is not about leisure, but about the necessity of life. About imagination, about deepening, about wonder, about feelings, but also about connection, about hope, about the future.

What is not in your statistics or can be calculated with your numbers, but what makes people live, what moves people, what gives people breath. And then it is about every human being: about those who create art and about those who experience art.

In these difficult times, we need to breathe more than once.

And let that be the very thing that cuts you off with your decision: Breathe. You stifle what you have to stand on the barricades for. You trample the seed as it germinates. And that is disastrous. To save on art is to save on life, ladies and gentlemen.

We, art teachers in a school that is proud of its students and former students, who know better than anyone what wonderful young people are ready to warm the world with their ideas, urge you to adapt your policy to that of this new generation need.

It’s up to them now. They’re counting on you.

Teachers KV Word department

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