With the closing down of many creative spaces, such as theatres, choir groups and dance classes, many creatives have felt their outlets sullied by the restrictions of the pandemic. Although these guidelines have been imperative in preventing the spread of Covid-19, creatives and the arts a whole have been greatly affected by the crisis.
In order to combat this, many young creatives have turned to online platforms such as TikTok and YouTube to showcase their craft, and organisations have turned to digital spaces to adapt their workshops, performances and talent shows. To learn more about the shift in creative outlets during the pandemic, we spoke with young talented 15 year-old dancer and singer Joel Marquis-Kumba about the importance of creativity in his life and how he is staying creative during the pandemic.
For Joel, music and dance has played a big part of his life. Having been a young carer to his older sister who was born with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy since he was in a position to help, he had to mature at a very young age which included roles such as helping to feed and put his sister to bed at times and 'making sure she is alright and as comfortable as she can be' says Joel. Although Joel contributes to helping care for his sister, his mother Susan has made sure to provide him with a plethora of extra-curricular opportunities to allow him as normal of a childhood as possible. While his primary years he tested out Rugby, Taekwondo, Tennis and Scouts, it was Music, Dance and Acting that allowed him to harness his creative talent.
'I love to perform,' Joel tells us, 'singing, dancing and acting. My passion has always been with me but I started to take it seriously around the age of 12'. Joel's passion and skill has afforded him the chance to train with West End Kids, dance at Ealing Street Dance Academy and volunteer with The Brent Factor. He performs regularly at his current school as a soloist, in a duo and within a choir and has been awarded musician of the year.
However with the outbreak of Covid-19, many of Joel's creative outlets have been cancelled, so as a result, he has turned to different ways to express his arts during
the quarantine. On Thursday 14th, Joel teamed up with a group of singers to perform at their local NHS Hospital a rendition of 'A Change is Gonna Come'. With the aim of inspiring hope amongst the NHS workers, they sang the Sam Cooke song to display their gratitude for the hard work and sacrifices NHS workers have made.
Joel has also been participating in The Brent Factor's E-Factor, a virtual isolation creativity challenge set to challenge young creatives to showcase their quarantine talents. His submission includes a cover of Stormzy's Blinded By Your Grace Pt 1 in which he dedicates to the health worker heroes who have lost their lives during the pandemic. Susan, Joel's mother, tells us that she is 'extremely proud' of her son and that although their 'life has not been without challenges' she looks back fondly at all they have achieved as a family, and the achievements Joel has personally attained through his passions.
While the pandemic has disrupted the lives of many creatives, it has allowed individuals like Joel to express their talents in new and innovative ways. Within the disruption of lockdown and social distancing, hope has emerged as young talented creatives take on new spaces to showcase their creative sparks.
Keeping Creative is a series that discovers how people are staying creative during Covid-19. If you are a creative who has been affected by the pandemic and have found new outlets to showcase your art during quarantine, contact us with the subject Keeping Creative at: firstname.lastname@example.org