Trump’s immigration policies threaten the livelihood of artistic expression

You bar the nominee, you bar the art .

Taylor Sharp

The Academy Awards will be broadcast on Feb. 26 and Asghar Farhadi will not be there.

Though he directed a nominated film, “The Salesman”, Farhadi is from Iran, and the Oscars ceremony lies within the 90-day timeframe Iranian citizens are banned from entering the United States — part of an executive order signed by President Donald Trump last week. Farhadi says he will decline to go even if an exception is made — disfavoring the opportunity of the order’s “ifs and buts.”

To rant about a Hollywood awards ceremony in a time of fear and oppression may appear to be a case of misplaced priorities, but the scope of President Trump’s plan is vast. It includes a variety of ramifications, and by focusing on

The Academy Awards, I do not wish to disengage the true terror of family separation and the refugee crisis. It’s necessary to accentuate the entire spectrum of negative consequences the President’s decisions will produce.

Films are the fruit of years of work and devotion. Even if we may dislike some of the shoddier films nominated, the existence of art, like film, is a testament to hard work by caring people who sought to tangibly represent the wonders of human imagination and persistence.

The Oscars aren’t vital to filmmakers the way water is to any life form, but they’ve become an important symbol of excellence, that — in a meritocratic society — means more than we may like to admit.

I focus on Farhadi because implicit in President Trump’s immigration ban is a repudiation of art and creativity. Trump is excluding a man from a ceremony that symbolizes the necessity and significance of art in our everyday lives — film. He is replacing a life-affirming event of artistic solidarity and unity with complete ostracism and futility. Along with lives, the President’s system has destroyed a sense of belonging and purpose, and sadly, community.

In their lavishness, the Oscars crystallize the notion of art’s centrality in our culture. The President has devalued what it means to be an artist in a community of other artists —while the Academy Awards aren’t exempt from criticism of their own, the ceremony, in many ways, features an ethos of respect, where the efforts and passions of various artists are recognized. It’s a sense of togetherness that transcends a 6-hour ceremony.

President Trump’s policies have interfered with the legacy a piece of art leaves for those who made it and those who see it, divorcing the creator from his audience. And it’s a dilemma that may appear inconsequential amid the ruination of lives, but nevertheless it belittles the value of artists.