Bintu Petsane
I grew up in an era where Art was encouraged as a hobby and not a career. Many aspiring artists were encouraged to have second options or Plan B’s. A career in law or, better still, in medicine was seen as ideal. The prospects of future success and prosperity were brighter in those careers. At least, it is what we were made to believe.

I am glad to see our world is changing and artists are no longer being frowned upon.

Art in all its forms, including creative art including music, painting, drawing, sculpture, and many others, sit as equals side by side with other professions.

Not only does it contribute towards economic development and job creation, but also heals those involved in it.

Many artists often say art takes them away from their daily pressures, realities and stresses.

According to the Art As a Healing Force web site (www.artashealing.org), “art heals by changing a person’s physiology and attitude".

"The body’s physiology changes from one of stress to one of deep relaxation, from one of fear to one of creativity and inspiration."

It goes on to say Art changes a person’s perceptions and attitude of their world. It changes their attitude, emotional state, and pain perception. Art creates hope and positivity thereby helping them to cope with difficulties.

From an economic impact perspective the Art and the creative economy contributes over R90billion to South Africa’s GDP and employs thousands of people, mainly the youth, who make up 77.6% of the population in our country.

This is according to the South African Cultural Observatory (Saco).

Artists of today no longer need Plan B. They no longer have to play second fiddle to their peers in other professions. They can be just as successful in their craft and make a meaningful contribution to society and communities within which they live. They can inspire others and be positive role models.

Family support is especially crucial as this is where their confidence to face the world is derived. Pressurising our kids to follow careers in the sciences or quantitative fields when it is not their natural inclination leaves them feeling overwhelmed, defeated and feeling like they are failures.

I live with two artists. They are my daughters, Kagiso and Kabelo. I am in awe of their talent and with each beautiful piece of art they produce, I am thankful that I never stood in the way of their career choices. I never tried to convince them to be what they are not. I let them follow their hearts. Apart from the art produced in my home by my daughters I am also privileged to be living in an art city and being surrounded by so much beautiful art.

Johannesburg is one of the leading Art cities and boasts many galleries including Braamfontein, Maboneng, Keyes Art Mile and Parkwood’s so-called Art Gallery Row. There is also art in the parks which comes alive in spring and summer. Not forgetting the multitudes of art fairs including the FNB Joburg Art Fair which annually attracts top curators from New York, London and Paris.

I could not ask for more. Cheers to all the artists and creative souls.

* Petsana is chief executive of Venabi Communications - A communications and marketing agency. She lives in Johannesburg.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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