In November 2004, the Ville de Montréal presented a document that outlined their new cultural policy, which can be found here. The conclusions and propositions therein were derived from information culled from the cultural segment of the 2002 Sommet de Montréal. Upon its reflection, Q Art’s Bobo Vian decided that it purported far too much of an emphasis on mainstream cultural endeavors and that the debate was in dire need of a response from the Allophone independent theatre community. Here she gave her voice to defend those in the arts community who wish to create and express themselves in a situation untethered by commercial interests. Below is a poetic excerpt from her treatise:
Art the Constant
Art is not an industry,
Art does not produce material goods,
Art has no monetary value.
Art is an investment in a country’s cultural identity.
Art does not follow trends,
Art does not submit to policies and socio-political directives,
Art cannot be pre-programmed.
Art is an expression examining what cannot be measured through science.
Art is not a popularity contest,
Art cannot be measured by monetary success,
Artistic quality has nothing to do with personal taste.
Artistic impact can only be calculated in retrospect.
Art is risky because it always relates to the spectator.
Art is dangerous because it makes the spectator think,
Art is hazardous because it is Imagination flowing freely.
Art reflects on the artist, his epoch, and on his contemporaries,
Art connects one to one’s people and to the human race.
Art can unify a people in the long term, political programs cannot.
Being an artist is not a choice, it is a calling, an existence,
Being an artist is not a hobby, it is a lifetime commitment.
Artists do not work hours, they work every minute of their wakeful life.
An artist’s need to create is always stronger than the need to survive.
Artists do not create to please the critics,
Artists do not create to please their peers,
Artists do not create to please the social and political order of the day.
Artistic creations do not please the audience, they benefit the audience.
Artists connect to the spectators through their art, not their talk,
Artists build communities with their work, not with “tricks and treats.”
Artists have no job security,
Artists receive no benefits,
Artists have no vacation,
Artists go on because they ARE their profession.
A country that does not respect its artists will lose self-respect.
A country that does not support its artists will waste away its identity.
A country that ignores its artists, suffers from national communal dystrophy.
A country that rejects its artists, kills social conscience and progress.
A country that repels its artists, commits collective cultural suicide.
Every society needs artists, for they can always be looked upon with pride,
For they hold up the torch so others can lead, for the artists are constant.
Every society needs art, for it is the perpetual search into the human condition,
For it opens the eyes to the world, for it is intrinsic, for art is constant.
-Bobo Vian (Ms.); Performer, Theatre Artist, Q Art Theatre.
Art The Constant Copyright 2004 © Bobo Vian