Art Appreciation Lacks In Panama, If It Isn't Fixed, It'll Be Gone Forever
International

Art Appreciation Is Lacking In Panama, And If It Isn't Fixed Soon, It'll Be Gone Forever

A starving artist is forced to leave her home country because they refuse to support the aspirations of their people.

68

At least in the eyes of Latin America, Panama is considered to be a wealthy country much like Dubai or Singapore. While it is true to some extent, this country has traded in its culture for globalization and international trade, treating its own citizens as if they were foreigners in their own country.

There are many examples I could mention, but what has personally affected me is the lack of opportunity or appreciation for young artists in the country. Especially with the "Juega Vivo" attitude within Panama, all aspects of society are rotten to its core and one must be self-motivated to pursue higher education.

In my personal opinion, this has left Panama as being a slum for art, or creativity in general, and is perhaps the worst in the Americas. Monetary gain is rapidly increasing, but the local populace is still stuck in an anti-intellectual culture.

Having studied at art schools in the United States, Panama, and Colombia, it is definitely noticeable how much each society has invested in its citizens' education. Colombia by no means is a developed or rich country, yet they somehow find a way to turn their paltry tax revenues to produce some of the best art programs I've seen in Latin America. The United States has its problems, yet there are still grants, loans, and a healthy economy for people to pay their way into a nice art school.

Panama, on the other hand, is a nation full of false promises. Thanks to the canal money offering stimulus to public Universities, education is in shambles and resembles poorer, less-developed nations. For example, the local fashion design program is often canceled for the semester due to a lack of teachers or funding, which is weird since millions from the canal money are supposed to be injected right into it.

This leaves students in the hands of private universities to study art, which can cost upwards of $400 a month. It is mostly upper-class families that utilize these as making minimum wage would barely be enough to cover tuition, and there isn't the same access to borrowing money like there is in the United States.

While the economic and social freedom in Panama is at its peak, the local population has no appreciation for local art or culture. The idea of fulfillment is watching American movies, eating American junk food and wasting the last bit of one's paycheck to make the payment on their overpriced car.

The local corrupt government has also lacked the creation of programs to preserve local art or cultural events. Most of this is supported by the private sector or one's own money, which there is a lack of outside the highly concentrated upper class. Just taking a peek at neighboring Colombia, a country with plenty of corruption, there are art programs galore in most cities.

If you want to see a musical, play, art gallery or a live performance of classical music, you will have to take a flight to Colombia or Costa Rica. Even in impoverished Nicaragua, the art culture is thriving quite a bit more than Panama.

Panama is notorious to international economists and investors for being the country with the hottest growth in Latin America. Per capita, we've even surpassed economies like Chile, Argentina, and neighboring Costa Rica. The fact that we use the dollar also provides perceived stability that only a handful of countries can match.

Unfortunately, the scope of business is rather narrow, leaving most people with art degrees working in an unfulfilled office job. Finance, tourism or anything pegged to the government is the only thing the economy relies on, especially considering the government has been intentionally subverting the private sector to bring in more foreign goods and services.

One fortunate aspect is the freedom to create a business, especially if it's an internet-based startup in Cuidad del Saber. This has attracted foreign investment as Panama has favoring laws and tax benefits that few countries can match. Although, such tax benefits are lessened for local Panamanians in favor of foreigners with enormous capital.

The latest election has brought in a new president, in which people hope that it will reduce corruption and allow more money to be invested in public services. While I would love to be hopeful, more change is needed in Panama besides a presidential candidate or a few new parliament members. Significantly more money should be invested in primary schools and higher education, hopefully promoting educational and intellectual aspirations within the younger generation so that Panama has a future outside of relying on its canal.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 17 Black-Owned Businesses Ship Baked Goods, Rosé, And Even Fried Chicken Nationwide

Eat your way through this country's greatest food — from your couch.

Call it the easily bored Gemini in me, but I'm constantly looking for new food to try. Usually, travel quenches my taste for new and exciting cuisines, but given the fact that international travel is not always a possibility, I've begun exploring alternatives.

In the interest of wanting to support the Black community and Black-owned businesses, and also wanting to try some of the country's greatest food without having to get off my couch, I started off (pessimistically) doing research, only to find that the options were vast.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

24 Beauty And Style Brands Donating To The Fight To End Police Brutality Against Black People

From small, boutique brands to legacy fashion brands.

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments