Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you with Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore The Implications of a Pandemic.
Art From Us and Divvya Nirula present reports from the international art market with the view to assist our collectors, investors, and all lovers of art.
COVID-19 or the novel strain of Coronavirus is all the news anyone seems to be talking about. And with good reason. On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the virus a global pandemic. Having recorded at least 118,000 cases from across the globe, things were looking quite bad, expected to get worse.
Said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO in an official statement, “This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector. So every sector and every individual must be involved in the fights”.
Not 2 weeks since these prophetic words were spoken, they already seem to be manifesting in the worst way. National governments across the globe have enforced country-wide lockdowns, thus arresting the flow of trade and movement of people almost entirely.
A Sector-wise breakdown – The Implications of a Pandemic
For the absolute novice to grasp the magnitude of the situation – the very first country that came to a grinding halt was none other than the world’s manufacturing superpower – China. All imports and exports were affected, largely because people were asked not to step out of their houses.
At a micro level, if you can’t go to work, how will production happen? This obviously had a domino effect. Furthermore, the goods that were already in production or ready to be sold were looked at suspiciously by international buyers. The virus is said to live on various types of materials – including metal, wood and even textile for several hours, if not days. With news of the virus spreading like wildfire and fear mounting, Chinese goods were essentially being rejected, thus impacting the entire supply chain. Now, this is where things went from bad to worse.
Of course, for businesses across the world that source anything from China, this implied an immediate slowdown. More importantly, the realisation that the virus is highly contagious, international governments started to impose strict travel bans on people travelling to and from China and neighbouring South Asian countries. Ships passing by the Chinese coast were not allowed to dock anywhere and people were stuck on board; visas were cancelled and airports started testing all passengers for the virus.
The strain on the international medical community was apparent almost immediately. The panic caused by the virus took its toll as masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and other basic medical supplies ran dry. As more people tested positive however, even hospital rooms and testing kits ran in short supply. Doctors are overworked and under immense pressure, especially in countries like Italy and Spain that have an alarming number of positive cases.
Tourism & the Travel Sector
Of course with a pandemic on the rise, one would assume there’s no vacation on the horizon. However, the impact goes deeper than just the tourism industry. Since Businesses and Universities shut down internationally, there has been a lot of movement in the travel sector. With the impending lockdowns, until even just a week ago, foreign students and employees were being sent back to their home country. With the sudden spike in demand, tickets became more expensive. However, the international lockdowns that have since been imposed have thrown the travel industry into dead silence.
Countless exhibitions, auctions and events have been either rescheduled or cancelled owing to the pandemic. This implies huge losses in the art world for all – right from the museum and gallerist down to the artist. With event venues being booked, works being loaned, procured and insured, dates being set and money already having exchanged hands, the losses look irrecoverable.
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