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Artists topping poll as non-essential sparks outrage

A recent Singapore poll asked 1000 people “What jobs do you think are the most important during the Coronavirus”? The result put artists at the top of the ‘least essential’ column, and as you can imagine, caused an understandably angry backlash from the creative sector.

The poll, printed in the Singapore Sunday Times, quickly found its way on to social media with artists from all over the world sharing it and pointing out the importance of creative work.

The recent poll reveals artists as 'least essential'
The recent poll reveals artists as ‘least essential’

Obviously, as creatives, we totally agree and appreciate the backlash.

Clearly what the 1,000 people polled failed to understand is what the term artist encompasses.

It’s not just the talented folk who help make your house beautiful and put a smile on your face through their art

It’s also the art that makes a statement; that changes people’s perceptions (read our article artists fight racism through their thought-provoking art for more on this)

It’s the actors in your favourite films and series.

It’s the writers with their imaginations that take you off to far away worlds.

It’s the musicians that encourage you to get off the couch and dance round the living room.

It’s all the designers and creatives within the creative industry that help make things clearer, easier, simpler… better.

You see, whilst we’ve all been locked up, it’s the creative sector that’s helped keep you occupied and entertained. It’s helped your well-being and your sanity.

And if you don’t think your well-being and sanity is important enough then maybe the economy and finances might be?

According to an article on The Ministry of Counterculture website, the impact on the Coronavirus has had on the creative sector could potentially result in losses of over 400,000 jobs. This equates to approximately £76 BILLION.

The article also explains that the creative sector generates more revenue for the economy than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries generate together.

In a nutshell… it’s very important!

To be fair to the people polled, the questionnaire didn’t explain the broader term of ‘artist’. It was a poll regarding essential workers during a time of crisis and understandably keyworker professions topped the poll. BUT, what we feel this poll does reveal is the stereotype cliché of how creativity is still grossly undervalued in our modern society.

In a recent Instagram post by Singapore Comedian Rishi Budhrani, he summarised perfectly just how many don’t realise how much creatives play in their everyday life…

In his post he urged people to cancel their Netflix and Spotify subscriptions. Stop watching Youtube and take the iPad off the kids and then see what the world would be like without creativity.

Rishi's response to the poll urges people to try living in a world without creativity
Rishi’s response to the poll urges people to try living in a world without creativity

Imagine this dark and depressing world. One void of entertainment and colour. Void of happiness and imagination and then ask yourself is this a world you’d like to live in?

This recent poll feels like another catalyst for the eternal debate; that of the value of artists within society.

Sadly, we believe, it’s only if artists, in all their creative forms were removed, that their true, rightful value would finally be recognised.

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