August 2, 2020

By Ahmed Saeed


LAHORE

Nahid Siddiqui is a world-renowned dancer and choreographer; her groundbreaking performances have won her quite a few awards in the international arena. But even someone as accomplished as Nahid has not been immune to the negative impacts of the current crisis.



Only recently Nahid had found a job working as a choreography instructor at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) but just a few days later, her contract was abruptly terminated. In a blink, she had unknowingly joined the list of thousands of other artists who have been laid off due to the pandemic.

“Instead of firing artists the figureheads of these art institutions should consider making cuts in their own bloated salaries,” she says. “Some artists were in such a poor shape that we had to arrange food aid for them.”

She points out that artists help form the identity of a nation and this is why governments should pay special attention to their needs.

“Artists give peace to distressed people and societies through their performances, that is why developed nations invest in the welfare of their artists,” says Ms Siddiqui.

She believes that if the government ever wanted to promote culture and the crafts, it should make arts a compulsory part of every school curriculum.

“Unless dance is not taught in schools, we cannot create an audience for it. In our homes, children are forbidden to dance mainly because parents have no knowledge about it.”

Art, she says, plays a central role in promoting the spirit of tolerance, compassion and cooperation in a society, and for this reason, it is the responsibility of both the society and the state to pay special attention to the economic prosperity of artists.