Adriana Carvalho

Artists are uniquely able to handle isolation for short periods of time because they can look inside themselves and keep busy by creating something. However, isolation also kills the artist's spirit. In general, the virtual world is not enough. Humans are social animals.

Indeed, we artists are change agents. We change the streets, the neighborhoods and cities. Then, properties that we were a part of for years are sold for millions of dollars. Well, the system is not set up to hear the truth from artists unless they know the right people and have academic backgrounds. I sincerely doubt that art which is limited to a small percentage of our population can change anything. Maybe music—but the music world is also controlled to bar voices that speak truth to power. Change comes from yellow vests—not from self-serving art work.

We do not need art as we need a refrigerator. It's up to individuals to find what inspires them to laugh, cry or find solace through literature, film or whatever medium that helps expand their consciousness. Being an artist is not a career—it is a way of life. A true artist will create regardless of circumstances. Academia, galleries, museums, collectors are all part of a larger manifestation of capitalism that banks off of a creative person's naiveté. Having said that, we will all need to institute social programs to help people with the basics of life. We have all been brainwashed that life is dog-eat-dog. Maybe, although I doubt it, people will wake up and see the true nature of our politics and economy. Equality first, art will follow.

We have to use our creativity without thinking how it will be viewed or experienced. Generally, the art world has been and will always be rigged against the vast majority of artists. Most folks just didn't know it. Bottom line—in our capitalist system, rich people prefer to make other rich people richer. It's all based on quid pro quo mentality. Artists are no different than factory workers who have lost their unions and are paid less than living wages—the gig economy that we have all been convinced is our new middle class. Fear and Hope are our four letter words. It's a waste of time to dwell on such capriciousness. One must find like-minded souls to support each other.

These days, earth has been better in terms of pollution. It has been calm and quiet. Animals are happier, waters are cleaner. Health. Justice for the working class. Save the forest! Save the animals! It's the only way to save the earth. Just learn to seek the truth. We artists are filters of society. We must continue to stand up for positive values.

So who will support those who are giving up potential freedom and suffering from lack of funds? The XR (Extinction Rebellion) movement has come to an end with the pandemic. How do we collectively decide to get back in the trenches? What is our next movement? Mass unrest from all walks of life will eventually come for all economic classes. . . . But by that time, it's too late. Last one out, turn off the lights.

Brazilian born Adriana Carvalho studied fine arts in Sao Paulo before moving to Chicago, where she was first introduced to the welding process. She currently lives and works in Miami Beach, Florida.