This year I am mostly glad not to be living in America... although Europe is in serious danger of going tits up too. Brexit, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders... Putin flexing his muscles, China getting antsy over that pillock Trump. Bleak times people. Or at least that's what they'd have us believe.
Artistically there are challenging times ahead. Participating in the Liverpool Biennial this year, it really hit home how hard Britain's small-minded Island mentality and exclusion of other cultures is going to hit the art world. Art of all kinds feeds off new influences, different cultures. Practitioners need to meet people from other backgrounds and lands, with different outlooks and ideas. We need to experience each others work, talk, exchange ideas, learn, teach and share. If you restrict this, you prevent this essential cross-fertilisation. You will limit creativity and foster a cultural environment that is incestuous and derivative.
However, it's also a very dynamic time to be an artist. It's difficult to rail against contentment. It's hard to be cutting edge when you're too comfortable. World events in 2016 (from the death of David Bowie to Brexit and Trump) have provoked a creative response in me and many of my international colleagues. Art (and by this I mean all creative activity) is going to be more important than ever. I don't know if it can change the world but it can highlight the uncomfortable truths in our reality, it can call us to action and challenge the status quo. It can reach out beyond language and cultural barriers to inspire communication and discussion. Let's reach out. Let's share. Nobody can stop us making art.