The death of Jordanian artist Mote’b Al-Saqqar on Saturday drew more poignantly the attention to the cultural-artistic movement in Jordan and gave rise to calls to lend it much-needed support.
The cultural arm of Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), Al Nahda Arab Cultural Forum, mourns this prominent artist with a distinctive style who has been active on the art scene for decades and had great contributions to the national music heritage during his remarkable career. The forum uses the occasion to call on state institutions to support more robustly art and culture, to ensure diverse and appropriate dissemination and promotion channels, to provide financial support and professional development opportunities to those working in this field, to institutionalize entrepreneurial art initiatives, to develop the capacities of emerging artists, and to highlight the role of art and culture in addressing social issues. The forum strongly believes that it is important to champion the art sector and help it become a pillar of the Jordanian cultural movement.
With the art and cultural scene in Jordan challenged by financial and legal issues, such as restrictions and content censorship, purposeful production relevant to the community is hindered; therefore, support is needed, and hindrances and limitations must be reconsidered. It is necessary to found institutions to support innovation through programs, training, and workshops, to activate archiving and documentation, to support and institutionalize events, festivals, musical composition, productions of documentaries, TV, cinema, theatre, poetry and other forms of art and creativity, and ensure diversity and development to bring about social change and build a collective cultural identity.
While Jordan steps into its second centennial, questions arise about available programs supporting the cultural movement and its actors. The forum calls for enabling the Ministry of Culture to truly nurture and support the cultural sector and its various manifestations, to involve cultural and media institutions in collaboration with other public institutions, and to engage the civil society and the private sector in the cultural movement.
ARDD and its Al Nahda Arab Cultural Forum commend the government efforts to support art, but stress the importance of producing better culture-related policies and of allotting it more resources, especially in view of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns and the psychological and social pressure they put on art and culture professionals. Cultural and artistic events, as well as tourism, were severely impacted, and the artistic sphere shrunk even more due to the pandemic, making many people miss on regional and international opportunities.
In parallel with the reform efforts in the Kingdom, a rejuvenation of the artistic and cultural movement is strongly needed, and support for professionals in this sector is an essential part of the reform process. Those working in art and culture have a great role in expressing a people’s identity, and in reflecting its hopes and aspirations that aim at achieving a true renaissance of all aspects of life.