JournalismPakistan.com September 18, 2014
Why do the arts always get short shrift? Go to a bank and ask it to back you financially because you are a good writer, painter, singer, dancer, actor and all the executives will fall over laughing.
Go to a venture capitalist and say, hey give me some fiscal backing because I am going to be well known one day, I am talented, and he will say, oh, how nice, leave your portfolio here.
But business and there they are flapping loans in your face.
You’d think the rich need to patronize the arts or else they will die on the vine. Someone has to come good, right like for everyone who thinks he can sing there will be that incandescent spark in somebody. It is a venture and it is an investment.
Take sport. After the fact everyone is ready to be part of the action. I recall Leander Paes dad coming to Dubai many years ago to get corporate help for his son and hardly anyone displayed interest. Leander became a star and now the queue snakes around the corner.
Perhaps that is why we still see literature and music and theatre as classic only when it is from the past, more’s the pity. But not in its present context. We are gradually becoming pygmies because we do not nurture that talent when it is nascent.
The way I see it a passionate venture capitalist would be also shrewd enough to work out the odds that if he invested in ten individuals with potential one of them would hit gold. And what a bonanza that would be.
In reality, what happens is that the arts are not tangible and capability is not in figures and it cannot project profits and stuff. How do you know the potential exists for a world champion, a bestseller writer, a magnificent playwright, a poet, a voice unless you encourage it and nurture it and help it mature.
My way of thinking a truly modern financial house would keep a percentage of its investment capacity for the arts. Lose some, win some, what’s the difference, even businesses go belly up. But civilization is fuelled by creativity and expression of thought and it is truly sad that the confidence to buy into latent talent still does not exist. Easier to be a sponsor than a support.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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