WITP Founder Kate Enters delivered the following statement on our Facebook feed on 6 February 2017. The transcript is provided below and video is embedded at the end. Donations can be made at http://igg.me/at/witp-art . Thank you!
By Kate Enters
I have been thinking about what to say to you at this middle point of our WITP fundraising campaign. During the weeks ahead we will be hearing from some of our artists and sharing behind-the-scenes stories of the practical commitment and dedication it takes to deliver our programme and exhibitions, but for now I felt that it was important to share the following message with you:
The work that WITP does and the benefit and platforms offered to our artists are easy to recognise – an artist gets 100% of any sale they make, we share our work happily on social media, and our artists cv’s are beginning to grow due to our exhibition opportunities. Our international artists especially can now list a UK exhibition on their CVs. We hope that through our personal interaction, knowledge and understanding as fellow artists, as well as our clear communication during all our activities, they feel embraced and supported – and welcomed across any country’s border.
This leads me onto the current political and societal unrest that we can’t help, as creatives, to be acutely aware of and responsive to.
Earlier today we posted a quote from Nina Simone: “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
This is something that I personally believe in, but it is not something that an artist should feel alone in doing. Being an artist is often a solitary role in society and WITP offers platforms for sharing messages and points, or just something of stunning aesthetic beauty, easily and in good company. The route of an artist’s work is one that is personal – our inclusive nature, I hope, is one of our strengths.
A prime example of this is our exhibition that is opening in a months’ time at the Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh titled ‘At This Point In Time.’
We have a mix of WITP and non-WITP artists responding to that title. They are offered the chance to create, and exhibit their ‘points in time’ without there being a targeted focus on them as an individual and with no expectation of content. Celebrating a moment of beauty, or a personal conviction, or a reflection of a moment in time that resonates with them. All ‘points’ are valid and offer a diversity of society and a vibrant cross section of contemporary art and artists who are practicing in the world today.
By being part of a group, this hopefully emboldens and ensures work that is created without detriment to an individual’s practice and with no fear, caution or potential retaliation present.
It’s all about not being alone in the fight – there is familiarity and strength in numbers and we hope that all WITP artists and those who come on board for specific exhibitions, such as ‘At This Point In Time’ feel enabled and empowered to create and share their work whilst knowing that we have their back.
We are artist led and in this way our network and indeed our exhibition programme is unusual and I believe it to be essential in offering support and solidarity in the face of adversity, racism, xenophobia, sexism, bigotry and narrow mindedness to name just a few current issues! This is not a flippant statement – it would be naïve of me to not mention that there are some of our artists who are battling some of these issues and we stand strong with them today.
Matisse said that: “Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play”
I for one would like a civilisation filled with creatives who have that spirit and drive – able to complement other paths walked, and importantly have a prime position in society that is not dictated by money or the puppetry of power. This may be a Utopian view but it’s a fact that each and every one of our WITP artists have this spirit and we have, I believe, already started a solid and far-reaching ripple effect throughout the world though them and their art. This keeps me positive and hopeful!
And we cannot give up hope. There is so much beauty in the world and amazing, creative passion. As artists we are used to adapting and developing in restricted circumstances – we have done so historically and I feel that we are having to do so now. With your help we can maintain strength and hope together and I am certain that our creative voice will not be silenced.
I’d personally be terrible at trying to make sense of the world by trying to write political satire or going into battle. As an artist my weapon is my art and I’ll do all I can to use it for uniting and crossing any boundary we face.
And that is why we, and I, need your help to continue to offer this unique platform and to grow. We need to be able to welcome and embrace more contemporary artists, work with great galleries and spaces, and continue to offer a spring board for all artists to explore, develop and continue to find their voice and sustain their practice.
Please donate – help keep our voices loud, and even more importantly, help keep our voices valid!