On April 13th, Lithuania-Ukraine: Cultural Partnership 2016, the largest cultural cooperative project ever undertaken during these two countries’ independence, was opened at the Taras Shevchenko National Museum in Kyiv along with one of the first events of this cultural season – the Everyday Life exhibition of modern Lithuanian photography.
Konstantin Doroshenko, the famous Ukrainian art critic, curator and radio host who moderated the event’s press conference, underscored the fact that Lithuania’s and Ukraine’s cultural dialogue has long and deep historical roots and, indeed, had never been interrupted – Ukraine is well acquainted with Lithuanian art and its authors. Andrij Vitrenko, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Culture for euro-integration affairs, agreed with Doroshenko, saying that much links the two countries’ pasts and present. “The events planned for this partnership program show truly serious and intensive relationships between artists. I truly hope that this focused partnership for 2016 will continue into 2017 and 2018 and for many more decades,” said Vitrenko. Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Culture Romas Jarockis pointed out that culture is an especially important element of the 25th anniversary of these two countries’ diplomatic partnerships.
The content of the cultural cooperation project was presented by Lithuanian Cultural Institute director Aušrinė Žilinskienė (Institute is coordinating the project). She emphasized the fact that forming the program was easy because many Lithuanian artistic organisations from various fields had already found inroads to Ukraine. Not only were they keeping in touch with their colleagues, they were working on cooperative projects as well. The encouragement of cooperation is also one of the primary focal points of the 2016 Lithuanian cultural season: not just to participate, but to strengthen existing ties, form new ones, and create possibilities for artists to inspire each other and begin cooperative initiatives. Therefore, many of the art, theater, dance, music, modern design and literary events have been and will be accompanied by creative workshops, meetings with the public, and lessons.
The Everyday Life exhibition at the T. Shevchenko museum was presented by exhibition curator and head of the Kaunas division of the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers Gintaras Česonis and photographer Romualdas Požerskis. From the questions posed by the journalists and photography enthusiasts at the event, it was clear that Lithuanian photography was well-known in Ukraine and that these two countries’ common history allowed them both to understand the deepest layers of this universal language. Not only did attendees remember the so-called Lithuanian school of photography and its masters, they were also interested in the new generation and in opportunities to learn this art. The exhibition presents the entire spectrum of Lithuanian photography from 1963 until now and will be open until April 24th.
The opening of this exhibition marked the start of a true Lithuanian cultural marathon: the tour of Lithuanian and Ukrainian illustrators’ workshops began on April 17th; the contemporary Photo, Image, Media Textile exhibition opened on April 19th (at the Ukrainian Academy of Art’s Modern Art Research Institute); and the Lithuanian Mini-Textile Gold Foundation modern textile exhibition (at the Kalita Art Club gallery in Kiev) and the presentation of Lithuanian literature at the international Knyzhkovy Arsenal book festival both began on April 20th.
On April 23rd, the performing arts will join the marathon with two Padi Dapi Fish modern dance theatre performances, Dior in Moscow and Baltoji Lopšinė, at the Zelyonka international dance festival.
The performing arts will be an important element of the project’s autumn season. Oskaras Koršunovas’ theatrical performances, the Geros Dienos! Modern opera (Operomanija), the Art Printing House’s Feel-link street-dance performance, the Aura and Dansema dance theatres’ performances, and the Table Theatre (for younger audiences) will all participate in the Gogolfest interdisciplinary art festival in Kiev. Lithuanian music and various exhibitions will also be found in Ukraine in autumn.