It certainly has been an eventful year. The more liberal minded of us have been shaken by recent politics – by the rise of populism and support for fascist leaders around the world. This has been a year when research and fact checking, intellectual debate, clear thought, the truth have been brushed aside, ridiculed even, to be replaced by pure fiction. It’s been a year when leaders who promote hate, ignorance and violence are celebrated.
Being open minded, being an internationalist, an intellectual, clever, different and creative are no longer seen as positive traits. They are deplored. Subjects such as art history have been branded as soft, being almost eradicated from the education system. It is now okay to be openly racist, something that I am sensing for the very first time since arriving on these shores age thirteen. And I’m not alone is feeling incredibly foreign and unwanted.
Almost as if to reflect these dark times, this was also the year when we lost a handful of irreplaceable creatives who have contributed greatly to the world of arts – David Bowie, Zaha Hadid, Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali, Richard Adams, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Prince, Franca Sozzani, George Michael, Carrie Fisher…
Somehow in complete contrast with the grim politics of the day, the year happened to be a great one for celebrating the arts especially here in London where we saw the opening of the stunning Switch House at the Tate Modern, the Design Museum, and the city had its first biennale dedicated entirely to design with a relevant opening theme ‘utopia by design‘. The Serpentine Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels was joined by four smaller architectural structures dotted around Hyde Park, and I for one found it impossible to keep up with the many exhibitions and festivals dedicated to art, architecture and design.
It’s also been an interesting year for the automobile, as the car moves towards its next life with some intriguing propositions from some of the main carmakers as well as newcomers and tech companies. Read my top moments here.
So, I welcome 2017 with a positive note. These dark moments instigate progress. As a colleague pointed out on one of my lowest moments, the move towards liberalism is inevitable and this is possibly a last ditch effort by those who feel they stand to lose most from a more just world. It has made us even more aware that improved economic prospects for all and most of all better education are urgently needed to create more socially inclusive communities.
I’d like to leave 2016 with this inspiring quote by David Bowie:
So long 2016, and here’s hoping for a more just and a more peaceful New Year