The Power of the Arts and Basic Income

Clayton Windatt has been working with Craig Berggold and Zainub Verjee for more than a year in the development of ideas, process and overall advocacy towards making a basic income for all people a reality. This work was presented in the ON THE EDGE Fringe Festival’s “Black Box Gallery” also known as the old H.E. Brown building in downtown North Bay, Ontario as part of this year’s Wawasayg Film & Media Arts Festival.

Although the festival became online-only due to COVID19 restrictions and public lock-downs, Windatt was able to install “The Power of the Arts and Basic Income” as a passive window installation to feature the work sharing it with whomever was a passer by in the downtown core. Although the original intentions of this work was to have a gallery installation that could engage the audience of a physical festival, this alternative shows resiliency in a time when art presentations are almost nonexistent.

The language used in this looping video repeated across four screens clearly articulates a call to action pushing any viewer towards calling upon their own government to take a side.

  • When I say “Basic Income for All” it is a guarantee made that the government of Canada establishes an economic floor of income.
  • A Basic Income for All is a human right and a non-partisan movement.
  • It is a global movement and for me it implies the impact on the daily lives of people I share with.
  • Basic Income for All is larger than any individual or group as it affects our overall way of life,
  • It is an investment into people for their growth,
  • financial empowerment,
  • income is assessed when taxes are filed ensuring ongoing accountability.
  • This means it can be accessed by anyone who needs it.
  • A Basic Income for All enables the redistribution of power through equitable sharing of resources as a human right for all people regardless of their work status.
  • Contact your local and national government and ask them to make Basic Income for All a reality in Canada.

For the artists, this is bigger than any government and requires the collective action of many communities in order to be realized at all. This work is more about changing a mindset within populations than winning any vote or convincing any one person. The idea of pushing as far as needed and bringing everyone together is not a simple task. Clayton has shared more on his own website regarding how this work is being shared further now anchored to the advocacy of the group towards a basic income for all.

The presentation took place from April 15th through the entire month of May and was the only publicly accessible action of the 2021 Wawasayg festival with the exception of online actions. Zakide would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for making this happen during a time of great strife and obstacles for many peoples.