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Artists Unite To Spread Solidarity Around the World

The former Paris based World Citizen Artists (WCA) movement has moved to the UK, and just returned for its “Solidarity For All” awards results.
This year’s World Citizen Artists awards were to encourage artists and non-artists to be creative during the lockdown by providing positivity and hope around the world.
The Solidarity for All Awards 2020 launched in May, in partnership with Belgravia Gallery, the Gandhi Foundation, PeaceDay365, Bristol Students Union, Emmanuel Jal, Marta Gomez and the mental health charity This is My Brave – in order to encourage artists and the public living in isolation to stay positive, constructive and creative and inspire solidarity.
Top ten music category was announced more recently on September 5th, World Charity Day. First place was awarded to Russ Parrish from the USA, for his song entitled ‘Together’, and the runner-up was Haiti’s Rebel Layonn with his song ‘Life After Corona’. Even though artists and musicians may work alone at the beginning stages of their creative processes, a lot of their later stages rely on in-person collaboration – from recording the song with other musicians to the final performance in front of an audience. However, both musicians were now working in a world where in-person collaborations were unimaginable.
The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt worldwide, causing the loss of loved ones and severe economic hardship. Within The Arts sector specifically, uncertainty has placed a strain on work, with funding cuts, exhibition cancelations and gallery closures. “The sudden disappearance of live gigs and the interaction and energy that goes with them has been a huge change to musicians and performers everywhere,” said Valerie Won Lee, founder of World Citizen Artists.
Yet, the applicants for the 2020 ‘Solidarity for All’ Award remained determined to continue despite these exceptional circumstances, thus demonstrating the ever-growing resilience and importance of The Arts. Still, competing in a contest that opened on May 1st – during the height of COVID – came with its own set of challenges.
Russ Parrish, who was awarded first place for his song “Together”, is usually incentivised by seeing other people and a drive to perform to live audiences. With this being impossible due to COVID restrictions, he had to turn to other sources of inspiration, and instead found himself striving to motivate everyone to work together, like “one crew on a ship in a sea, sailing together”, as the lyrics of his song state.
“Artists like music runner-up Rebel Layonn have only ever produced music in a studio, to shift that process to a lockdown scenario in his own home, with no access to technicians and equipment, was a considerable challenge,” added Won Lee. “But with help from friends around the world, he was able to record and mix his final song with their virtual support instead. To me, that cooperation is the epitome of the solidarity and incredible resilience of artists during this dark period.”
About World Citizen Artists:
World Citizen Artists is a worldwide movement and emerging community of artists, creatives, and thinkers whose aim is to create effective and evolutionary change in the world through events, exchanges, and other opportunities involving the use of art and music to raise global awareness. Learn more atwww.worldcitizenartists.org.