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Effects of Coronavirus pandemic on Art Scene of Pakistan


By Rafia Maniar

Since the global outbreak of coronavirus, which led to major economic and social meltdown across the globe. Leading to direct and indirect effects on the trade and commerce.

The demand for non-essential business services are reducing, as people are restraining themselves and holding their resources only for essential services. Everybody is uncertain about the duration of current crisis.  The Crisis has effects a wide range of services, which were running remotely and virtually. The lockdown has also effects the “Art Scene” in Pakistan. This shortfall in resources has caused abandoning / discontinuation of operations of “Art Scene” business in Pakistan.

Rafia Maniar

For an Artist/Painter his Bread and Butter comes from the daily transaction, they are sort of daily wages people. If in this lockdown (Quarantine) days they are producing Art. However failing to sale it? The social media and virtual art galleries use to play an important role in sale of Painting and Art Facts, but since the whole country is under complete lockdown the interested person cannot use it, physical galleries are not operating nor an Artist can directly send their art piece to their respective (Art Collector /Buyer)as all the courier services have closed their operations.

This a very complex situation for Art Lovers and Artists, some of the Art Lovers is still interested in acquiring paintings but due to lockdown virtual sale is not possible and shipment of paintings is not possible due to non-availability of courier services. Many of Art Collectors are holding their purchases till the ending of lockdown. Hence interested people will hold there funds till lockdown is over. This scenario has affected our Artists! These artists are who earns their livelihood on the basis of this day-to-day sale.

Before making any decision of lockdown Government of Pakistan had failed to consider the amount of hardship of white collars daily wages workers! Artists are cultural ambassadors of a country and they play a very important part in building and developing cultural   activities in a society. This lockdown has created a storm among the Artists in Pakistan.

In the current scenario e-commerce services are increasing, businesses are coming up with new ideas of e-trade and e-service virtually but for the Art Scene its of no use until and unless uplift of the ban imposed on the courier services as it plays a major role in every e-based trading activity.

Like if I take my own example, I am as an Artist, An art Collector and Art Promoter. I am facing difficulties in fulfilling my commitments. As I have booked some paintings from a very renowned  artist of Pakistan. The  booking was made before the out-break of the Corona Pandemic and it has to be delivered within 10-15 days time period. As now the work had completed by the Artist and he asking for his payment with confirmation of completion of work by sharing images on WhatsApp.

 Since thelockdown and closure of courier services the paintings cannot be send to Karachi form Islamabad.  The transaction is put on hold by buyer according to him once he will get the confirmation that ordered paintings were dispatched vide courier than only he will deposit the payment in Artist’s account. Now the whole transaction is on hold until resumption of courier services.

The art community in Pakistan is always in loss. Artist faces lots of problems, neither they are counted as “Daily Wagers” nor consider as “Business Community …What status they hold?  Who are responsible to look after their well-being? This is a very major issue and No one is taking steps to resolve theseissue, which the Art Scene and Artists of Pakistan arefacing.

The Government of Pakistan should lift the ban on courier service /postal service by implementing safety measures. They can adopt procedure followed internationally for sanitizing the parcel received from the customer and before delivering them to the customers. If they are delivering the parcel in 24 hours they can now deliver the same in 48 hours in order to ensure that the parcel is disinfected properly. By this way they can save the Art Scene from financial and economic crisis.

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