Get off your high horse

2010-07-17 11:04

It is hard to be an artist ­sometimes. If you are involved in

theatre, poetry and literature or dance, you are expected to ­adhere to an arty,

intellectual ­image that sometimes comes off ­as unnatural.

You have to have a cause that consumes you like feminism, ­racism

and the like, and be all about pursuits that are deemed appropriate by an elite


Aspiring to a suburban ­lifestyle and loving action films that

require no thought are among the many trivialities that can ­diminish your

authenticity in these circles.

I have hung out with artists who feel one is selling out if they

live in particular areas.

I have spent time with vegetarian poets who consider

television an “idiot box” that brainwashes ­people, and sport as an overly

­aggressive activity that creates conflict.

I have interacted with ­artists who consider themselves outside

society, quote Frantz Fanon ­incessantly and look down on everyone else for not

being “conscious” or “intellectual” enough.

These are the martyrs and I blame them for the lack of ­enthusiasm

and support for some really great art that is ­created every day.

In a way, many art forms ­suffer from a lack of effective branding

and promotion.

A brand is what others say it is, whether it is that or not. The

image created excludes the ­majority of society then we ­wonder why there is no


The artist looks at the ­businessperson and sees a “money hungry

exploiter” or “a soulless corporate stooge” and is then surprised when there is

no ­funding.

In Johannesburg, the Market Theatre is an amazing piece of history

that continues to host top quality productions that are ­relevant to our

society, yet the pantomime at the Joburg ­Theatre will sell out every


Sometimes we want to be entertained.

We want to be able to

experience without being made to feel inadequate about what we know.

We want to

be able to learn without being preached to.

We are all human, regardless of what we do to survive and thrive in

this world.

We are moved by love, laughter, pain, joy and sorrow, and don’t

like being told how to do it and that we are incapable of understanding


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