Ukrainian Culture Held At Gunpoint Amidst Coronavirus Crisis

Published in Culture
Thursday, 07 May 2020 10:49

In its fight to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country, the Ukrainian government may sacrifice one of the country’s biggest assets since the Euromaidan Revolution, its culture. While the Ministry of Finance plans to cut funding in 2020 by 7 billion hryvnias, UkraineWorld sums up why representatives of the country’s creative industries believe it might lead to a disaster.

On 27 March, thousands of Ukrainians joined an online-protest called "No To the Destruction of Culture". The initiative came as a desperate response to the government's plan to cut state budget expenditure and reallocate money to combat the spread of the coronavirus in Ukraine. 

However, those working in the country's cultural sector warn: cutting vital funding for, inter alia, the cinema, books, and development of tourism will turn into a great loss, both on a personal and national scale. Here are some key thoughts from the representatives of Ukraine's cultural sphere, who oppose the decision to cut budget funding of culture:

JULIA SINKEVYCH, GENERAL PRODUCER OF THE ODESA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

We see that governments in more developed and even less developed countries are creating funds of support, instead of cutting the budget for culture. They even exceed the planned budgets, despite the situation [with coronavirus] in the world.

The UK has unveiled an emergency 160 million pounds response package for its cultural sector, Germany rolled out 50 billion euro aid to support creative industries, Italy allocated 130 million euro aid [for the film and theatre industry -ed.].

MYKOLA KNIAZHYTSKIY, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON HUMANITARIAN AND INFORMATION POLICY

Our Committee has stood unanimously against the budget cuts for Ukrainian culture, regardless of the party that each member belongs to. People who are quarantined should have something to watch and read, besides the fact that other essential sectors need support.

We should remember that, in addition to the virus, we have another war in the East of Ukraine.

It's obvious, if we won't deliver our own cultural product, this niche will be taken by Russian products of culture.

We are aware that many cultural events will not take place due to the quarantine in Ukraine and abroad. These expenses can be cut and allocated for healthcare workers or other social needs. However, we have to support national cinematography in different ways. For example, by launching a competition through the Ukrainian Cultural Fund or the State Film Agency for people to write scripts, and give them the opportunity to prepare future movies.

Last year, the Ukrainian Book Institute allocated 100 million hryvnias for books in libraries. This year, this number was reduced to 20 million hryvnias and only for children's books. No one cares about publishing houses and bookstores.

We also have to think about our regions. Ukraine has cut funding  for local budgets, and cutting expenses for culture is the first thing they do at local level.

ANNA MACHUKH, CO-FOUNDER AND THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE UKRAINIAN FILM ACADEMY

The mission of our Academy is the popularization of Ukrainian culture, but now we are talking about saving it in general.

The survival of the nation, with even a short downtime in culture, is under threat. The downtime for even a year might throw us back for a minimum of several years.

From the period of 2006-2010, we had 1-2 movies maximum. In 2011, there was no Ukrainian movie screened in the cinema. In the period of the so-called Renaissance of Ukrainian cinematography, 2010-2019, we had more than 100 movies released. We are not talking about quantity but already about quality. We showed that Ukrainian cinematography has its place on the international landscape.

More than 10,000 people, who work in the movie industry alone, will be left with no means to live without support from the government.

PAVLO SUSHKO, DEPUTY HEAD OF SERVANT OF THE PEOPLEFACTION IN PARLIAMENT

As a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and Chairman of the Cinematography and Advertising Subcommittee, I find the situation with reducing financing of the culture and film sector unacceptable.

When we have just heard about possible cuts, and we are united in the Committee. Here are some of the economic and social consequences that will come:

1) breaking of creative industry enterprises;

2) decrease in export of creative industry goods;

3) increasing unemployment in the field of film production, tourism, book publishing;

4) loss of human potential.

5) reduction of the general level of culture of the population of Ukraine > increase in crime rates and "social" diseases;

6) the lack of perception of the policultural nature of Ukrainian society and a general decline in the level of patriotism;

7) slowing down the processes of development of civil society institutions, etc.

IRMA VITOVSKA, UKRAINIAN ACTRESS

It is like a nightmare from the 90-s. I am an expert of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund, where many projects are now suspended in uncertainty. But cinematography is a difficult sphere in terms of technical assets, which we had grown.

We should look for ways to compromise. Culture creates a moral code, which is important in times of challenge like the coronavirus pandemic. This is a challenge and a marker that will detect many things in society.

We do not know what the atmosphere outside will be, so the moral code that culture gives is important so as not to allow people to fall into despair.

One year of downtime can count for ten for those people working in cinema. It is a question of information security, creativity, and competitiveness. For me, as an actress, the downtime is very critical. We might lose everything we have been acquiring for so long.

 
 
IRYNA MATVIYISHYN
Analyst and journalist at UkraineWorld and Internews Ukraine

1500 teenagers spent their summer holidays at Robotechnics Summer Camp

Published in Education
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 14:04

Robotechnics Summer Camp was closed in Kutaisi, where approximately 1500 teenagers spent their summer holidays and had the opportunity to get acquainted with modern technological innovations.

The project was implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, together with the Ministry of Defense.

The primary aim of the project was to promote: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, robotics, modern technological achievements amongst the youth, in conjunction with developing creative thinking and popularizing a healthy lifestyle.

International NGO HWPL signed MOU for "Peace Culture City Project" with Tîrgu Mureş City in Romania

Published in World
Wednesday, 23 May 2018 18:13

Appealed to Romanian youth and citizens to join in the activities calling for the establishment of international law for peace

On May 20th, Tîrgu Mureş City in Romania and the UN ECOSOC-affiliated NGO Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) signed an MOU for 'Peace Culture City Project' to develop a culture of peace through cultural exchanges and peace education.

“Tîrgu Mureş City is a multicultural and historic city. HWPL is working to raise awareness of the world in culture, civilization, and history through continuous and constructive peace education and cultural exchange. Through this MOU, we hope that Tîrgu Mureş City and HWPL will be able to make each other’s culture more beautiful through “A Culture of Peace - the City project,” said Mayor Dorin Florea.

Regarding this peace-building cooperation, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, "I am glad to be able to communicate with the progressive City of Tîrgu Mureş through the MOU.”

As for the role of individuals in working for peace, "Let us leave peace and better culture for future generations as a higher state of culture through exchange of culture of peace," he added.

Then, Chairman Lee of HWPL and its peace delegation participated in the youth event titled "Youth, Let's Voice out" in Bucharest Parliament House. The event was jointly hosted by HWPL, its affiliated organization, International Peace Youth Group(IPYG), and the Romanian youth peace group, Master Peace Ro.

"All mankind desires peace, nobody has wanted war. So, if we become one, we will be able to achieve peace. HWPL exists for youth. I hope all youth to join in peace activities of the IPYG and leave peace as a legacy for our future generations,” said Chairman Lee.

 “We have all shared to you our experience during a period of huge political, economic, culture, and scientific, technological transformation. We hope that this working experience will contribute to your future in the next period of big transformation ahead of you,” said Hon. Emil Constantinescu, the former president of Romania.

Mr. Dragomir G. Marian, President of MasterPeace Ro said, "More than 1,000 youth have signed the DPCW and expressed their support. Today, I am happy to see the culture of peace promoted by the Peace Letter project." And he expressed his hopes for the youth in Romania to continuously promote the activities of culture of peace with HWPL, such as peace education and peace walk.

The DPCW with 10 articles and 38 clauses includes provisions to avoid war-related actions and achieve peace, including respect on international law, ethnic/religious harmony, and spreading a culture of peace. In order to advocate peace and conflict resolution, HWPL has engaged in peace education and “the Legislate Peace Campaign” to raise awareness of peace to students and citizens around the world.

In this event attended by 200 young Romanian youths, HWPL introduced the DPCW proposed as a solution to the dispute, and the participants wrote the 'Peace Letter' urging the president to support the DPCW.

Handmade culture in Georgia: how traditional crafts are contributing to the economy

Published in Culture
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 15:29

Georgian folk craftsmen are transforming traditional crafts into a source of economic income with the support of an EU-financed project.

Heritage crafts as a source of income

Culture is a source of inclusive growth and job creation and the global trade in creative products has continued to expand in recent years, despite economic uncertainty. Cultural heritage is a universal value, an important expression of cultural diversity – that is why preserving it and passing it on to future generations is so important.

According to Nino Samvelidze, Programme Manager for Youth, Culture and Digital Society at the EU Delegation to Georgia, cultural diversity is one of the main values of the EU, and this is why it aims to support the preservation and development of cultural traditions of different countries.

Having realised this, the EU has announced 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. In this article, we showcase the stories of Georgian craftsmen participating  in the EU-supported project “Folk Crafts Perspectives in Georgia”. Thanks to the project’s support, the craftsmen develop and grow their enterprises, pass on their expertise to others, so that heritage crafts can become a source of income in Georgia. 

“It is important that work in heritage crafts, which is rather widespread in our country, becomes a source of income and employment, and this is one of the objectives of the project,” explains Nino.

The Georgian Arts and Culture Centre selected 21 art studios to provide with funding. The total budget was €617,128, with €489,168 coming from the EU.  The Head of the Centre, Maka Dvalishvili believes that successful beneficiaries had to have an interest in and potential for development. One of the requirements to receive funding was that the beneficiary must teach their skill to at least five students.

“Our main goal is to preserve traditional Georgian crafts and to adapt them to modern market requirements, i.e. by transforming the craft into a business. Overall, this gives economic benefit,” explains Maka.

Maka, an art historian, says the culture of craftsmanship is widespread across Georgia. She says the main characteristic of folk craftsmanship is that the products must be handmade and not manufactured in a factory. Some parts may be factory-supplied, but they have to be finished by hand.  

“Folk craftsmanship started when mankind created stone tools, carved patterns on stone and developed aesthetic vision,” explains Maka. 

The Georgian Arts and Culture Centrehas been working towards the development of heritage crafts since its establishment in 1995. Maka says that, since that period, craftsmen have received support to develop quality and design, and to study the market.

In 2012, in cooperation with the EU in the framework of the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme, the Georgian Arts and Culture Centre implemented another project - Strengthening Creative Industries in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia: Heritage Crafts - Common Platform for Development.

Apart from workshops and seminars, the programme also conducted a study of 500 experts in heritage crafts. The results of the study highlighted the current situation of the heritage crafts market, and a strategy was developed based on the results.

Lali Sadaghashvili: Felt craft

About 20 km northwest of Tbilisi in the historic town of Mtskheta, near the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a variety of stalls can be found selling a vast array of products. Among them is Lali Sadaghashvili’s stall, where she sells woollen toys and other handcrafted products. 

On display at Lali’s stall you can find woollen toys, felt scarf, hand knitted shoes, wool jewellery and various other accessories – all handmade by her and her family. Lali sells her handcrafted products to the constant stream of tourists who walk past the stalls each day.

In the evening, when the flow of tourists declines, Lali returns home. If she is not too tired, she continues working in the studio set up on the ground floor of her house. This is where Lali’s enterprise, Nerbi, is based. If Lali is unable to work, her three children and spouse work to provide her with new items for the stall.

In Lali’s studio, there is one large table with a tap nearby to supply the water required for felt production. There are shelves installed on the wall in the room, with all the necessary materials and fabric, as well as a sewing machine and a wool felting iron.

Lali and her husband, Rasula Kevkhishvili, set up the enterprise in 2014, after they received EU funding from the Folk Crafts Perspective in Georgia project. They received 8000 GEL in funding, which they used to completely renovate the room and to purchase the table, chairs and necessary equipment. Lali, who has been working with wool for 16 years, says the project funding helped her to fulfil her lifelong aspiration.

“It is not an exaggeration, I fulfilled my dream. I always wanted to have a studio I would enter and forget everything, where I would have a table and I could work,” says Lali Sadaghashvili.

Lali used to work in the railway industry as a telecommunications specialist. She started to use her craftsmanship skills when she was made redundant. Today, handicrafts provide her main source of income.

“I remember at first when I earned 14 GEL, then 44 GEL, and it went on gradually. Initially, I was focused on toys, but now I see that hand knitted shoes also sell well,” says Lali.

At first, Lali’s spouse, Rasula, did not consider felt craft as a serious business, but over the course of time, he changed his mind. Now, he also works in the enterprise alongside his job in the railway industry.

“My wife used to talk about what she could make from wool but I was not really interested. I thought it was just a hobby and I was too busy with my work. Finally, she persuaded me to get involved and it turned into a family business,” says Rasula.

Felt is one of the oldest methods of creating and processing fabric. It is a traditional Georgian folk craft which attracts huge interest from tourists to the country. For this reason, Nerbi also provides workshops for tourists. Wet felting was one of the most recent masterclasses held for a group of tourists. The studio that was set up through EU support enables Lali to demonstrate the process of her work to tourists.

Lali also gives classes in Mtskheta gymnasium on how to make various items from wool. Through the EU project, she is responsible for teaching five students. She says that in four years she has already taught 16 students.

The support received through the EU project has empowered Lali, and she now has a monthly income of 1500 GEL. She hopes to open a shop in the historic part of Mtskheta and hire a shop assistant in the future.

Otar Sharabidze: Pottery

Otar Sharabidze is one of the expert folk craftsmen who received funding from the EU. The 67-year-old ceramicist currently lives about 60km southwest of Tbilisi, in Tetritsqaro.

Otar studied ceramics 40 years ago at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. After graduating, he worked in different factories within the former Soviet Union and created production sketches. He has been working independently since the 1990s. In 1996, Otar went to Istanbul where he taught at one of the universities. In 2014, he returned to Georgia where he settled in Tetritsqaro. He bought a house which was built in the nineteenth century in the historic part of the city, and now he plans to host pottery classes for tourists there. 

Otar told us that he bought a house with a yard especially to facilitate his work. He plans to set up a studio and accommodation in the house so that he can rent out two rooms to ceramicists and other interested people and work together with them.

Otar’s yard measures 1 500 m2  and provides the ideal place for his studio, which is 30m2. Water supply, electric and natural gas pottery kilns, a pottery wheel and other necessary equipment will be installed in the studio.

Otar brought an electric kiln by bus from Turkey and purchased the pottery wheel and gas kiln through EU funding. He says that having both gas and electric kilns will help him diversify his work.

The ceramicist says that with a gas oven he can make products using the Raku technique, which involves removing the piece from the hot kiln, putting it into leaves or wood dust, and covering it. This process creates a glaze on the pottery.

Otar says that his pottery is not only decorative; it also has a practical function. He says that each piece he creates is unique and is never repeated.

“I produce only one copy, I always try to create original work. This is typical of folk craft; new items are made all the time. Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art, and it is developing constantly. It is interesting to look at old ceramics but you also want to introduce something new,” Otar insists.

Otar says he will complete the renovation of the house in a month, and then will start work teaching pottery and hosting holidaymakers in Tetritsqaro.

Art Studio Snoveli, Kazbegi

Art Studio Snoveli was established by father and son Bidzina Snoveli (73 years old) and Mindia Ghudushauri (43 years old), in the village of Sno in the mountainous region of Kazbegi. Together they make wooden armchairs, tables, beds, and carve the furniture by hand. 

Mindia was born in Tbilisi, but his father was in born Sno. Bidzina, a qualified architect, left Sno after graduating from university, and studied woodwork in Makhachkala. “My father wanted to pass on his expertise to others. He has a very skilled technique; he only works by hand,” says Mindia. Bidzina says that he had talented students, but as his sales are not yet stable he cannot employ them.

The father and son set up Art Studio Snoveli in 2015 and bought the initial necessary materials through funding from the Children’s and Youth Support Fund. Then, through support from the project Folk Crafts Perspectives in Georgia, they purchased various woodwork tools and printed booklets in three languages: Georgian, English and Russian.

“The booklet is like a business card for our studio, you can show it to people wherever you go,” says Mindia.

Mindia wants to set up an exhibition space in Sno where they could receive guests and display the items produced in the studio. The furniture made by Snoveli contains carvings representing peacocks, griffins, turtledoves, bulls, the Borjgali symbol, various geometric shapes from different regions of Georgia, and figures from Georgian mythology.

Fourth grade student Saba Sabauri (8 years old) attends Sno School, located next to the Snoveli studio. He tells us that after classes he comes to the studio and learns to draw. After drawing, he will study woodwork.

“I mainly draw mountains and churches. Mountains are beautiful. My sister studied drawing; she would hang her drawings once she had finished them. I wanted to draw beautiful pictures as well, so I started to learn. I would also like to study wood burning,” says Saba. 

Keti Akiashvili (also aged 8) is another of Mindia’s students. Keti also attends the drawing classes and looks forward to starting to work on wood instead of a paper. “I learned how to draw villages and animals; how to create lines and shadows,” says Keti.

According to an EU-supported study in 2014, 1500 people were employed in the heritage crafts industry in Georgia. This accounts for 0.07% of the economically active population. 84% of the respondents worked on their own, while 16% hired employees.

Their main challenge now is to adapt heritage crafts to modern market requirements to enable them to benefit financially from the crafts.

Author: Misha Meparishvili

 

 

Modernized Past: How Today’s Ukrainian Culture Combines Tradition And Modernity

Published in Culture
Monday, 21 May 2018 16:45

In the 19th century Ukrainian culture was often perceived by its neighbours, like the Poles or Russians, as a land of deep-rooted folk traditions, where music, stories, and dance were driving humanity to its ancestral roots.

This is how Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s most famous poet of the 19th century, was perceived in imperial Saint-Petersburg, how Mykola Gogol was reviving demonic Ukrainian folklore for a Russian audience, and how Polish poets like Wacław Zaleski were presenting Ukrainian popular songs, or how Austrian writers like Sacher-Masoch were depicting Galicia, the borderland of his imperial motherland.

In the 20th century, the Soviet regime was busy trying to erase this “national” element. The search of national “depth” was marginalized and then openly persecuted from the 1930s. After World War II, the nostalgia for past traditions sometimes broke through the wall of censorship, creating interesting phenomena, like Ukrainian “poetic cinema” by Sergei Paradzhanov (his world famous film “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” is a classic example), Yuriy Illenko, Leonid Osyka, Ivan Mykolaychuk and others; but its creators often paid a high price for their dissidence.

After Ukraine became independent in 1991, and especially in the 2000s and 2010s, this repressed element returned with unprecedented vigour. In order to understand this phenomenon of going back to the past together with searching for modern forms of expression, one has to keep in mind an important insight of the post-independence decades. As national traditions were suppressed for decades, these traditional roots now had a strong emancipatory and freedom potential, which attracted so many artists. It was, therefore, not so much conservative as modern and looking to the future.

Let’s look at the ways in which contemporary Ukrainian culture is looking for this mixture of tradition with modern form and language.

Music

DakhaBrakhaone of the most famous Ukrainian music projects of recent decades, is one example of this traditional-modern mix. Calling their style “ethno-chaos” music, DakhaBrakha was born from the avant-garde theatre Dakh in Kyiv in the early 2000s. It combines traditional Ukrainian song with ecstatic rhythms, bringing a substantial dose of archaism into contemporary music. It is becoming increasingly popular around the world; even David Beckham used it recently in advertising for his brand.

Theatre

Contemporary Ukrainian theatre also often experiments by mixing tradition with modernity, introducing traditional dance, music or costumes into theatrical performances.

We have already mentioned the Dakh theatre, one of the most famous and influential Ukrainian theatrical projects. Launched by Vlad Troitskyi in the 1990s, it became a laboratory for many artists, music groups like DakhaBrakha and Dakh Daugthers, art festivals like GOGOLFEST, etc.

The Lviv-based Les Kurbas theatre is another interesting example of how tradition is being combined with modernityTake a look, for example, at its play Lisova Pisnya (The Forest Song), based upon Lesya Ukrayinka’s classic drama.

Cinema

Ukrainian cinema began to show signs of revival in the 2000s and in the current decade,  especially after Euromaidan (2013-2014), following several decades of decline.

One of the first examples of a new cinema searching for national roots was the picture Mamay by director Oles Sanin. The film tells the story of a Cossack called Mamay (an archetypal figure for Ukrainian culture) and his love for a Crimean Tatar woman.

Ukrainian documentary cinema also pays attention to folklore. Zhyva Vatra (Living Bonfire) by director Ostap Kostyuk tells the story of a little boy by the name of Ivanko, who is involved in old hutsul traditional sheep breeding work. The  language used by peasants, their songs and traditions sound authentic and exotic even for a Ukrainian audience.

Ukrainian folklore tradition is also present in animation, in an elegant artistic animated movie based on Taras Shevchenko’s Prychynna (Причинна), set to be released in 2018.

Another interesting phenomenon is “horror animation” based upon Taras Shevchenko’s work; its authors said they tried to move away from the usual image of Shevchenko and create a modern provocative interpretation.

A more mainstream animation called Mavka, that is based on Lesya Ukrayinka’s Lisova Pisnya, is trying to use Ukrainian folkloric and literary traditions to create an animated story for a wider audience.

Fantasy cinema is also exploring old traditions; look at Storozhova Zastava (Stronghold), which tells the story of a boy who accidentally travels in time to find himself in Medieval Kyivan Rus fighting against nomadic tribes.

In the 19th century Ukrainian culture was often perceived by its neighbours, like the Poles or Russians, as a land of deep-rooted folk traditions, where music, stories, and dance were driving humanity to its ancestral roots.

This is how Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s most famous poet of the 19th century, was perceived in imperial Saint-Petersburg, how Mykola Gogol was reviving demonic Ukrainian folklore for a Russian audience, and how Polish poets like Wacław Zaleski were presenting Ukrainian popular songs, or how Austrian writers like Sacher-Masoch were depicting Galicia, the borderland of his imperial motherland.

In the 20th century, the Soviet regime was busy trying to erase this “national” element. The search of national “depth” was marginalized and then openly persecuted from the 1930s. After World War II, the nostalgia for past traditions sometimes broke through the wall of censorship, creating interesting phenomena, like Ukrainian “poetic cinema” by Sergei Paradzhanov (his world famous film “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” is a classic example), Yuriy Illenko, Leonid Osyka, Ivan Mykolaychuk and others; but its creators often paid a high price for their dissidence.

After Ukraine became independent in 1991, and especially in the 2000s and 2010s, this repressed element returned with unprecedented vigour. In order to understand this phenomenon of going back to the past together with searching for modern forms of expression, one has to keep in mind an important insight of the post-independence decades. As national traditions were suppressed for decades, these traditional roots now had a strong emancipatory and freedom potential, which attracted so many artists. It was, therefore, not so much conservative as modern and looking to the future.

Let’s look at the ways in which contemporary Ukrainian culture is looking for this mixture of tradition with modern form and language.

Fashion

Ethnic traditions are also inspiring the creativity of Ukrainian fashion designers.

Some of them, like Roksolana BohutskaChernikova , SerebrovaOksana Polonets and others either produce their dresses in the traditional embroidery style (that of vyshyvanka), or create their own new collections inspired by Ukrainian decoration traditions. Handmade or mass-produced vyshyvankas are easy to buy in Ukrainian towns and cities; some projects like Zerno Fashion (zerno.fashion) also make interesting and tradition-inspired clothes available for a wider audience of consumers.

These are just a few examples of how today’s Ukrainian culture is combining tradition and modernity. A similar trend is also present in visual arts, literature, education, design, video games and comics.

An interesting thing about this phenomenon is that it erases the difference between “archaic” and “modern”. It makes national traditions “fashionable”, taking them through a filter of contemporary or avant-garde form.

But it also performs an interesting enterprise: by re-establishing the link between the present and the past it also modernizes the past, making it less archaic than it was before.

Written by Volodymyr Yermolenko, analyst at Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld

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This article has been first published on ukraineworld.org

This article has been published with the financial support of International Renaissance Foundation

http://ukraineworld.org/2018/01/the-futures-in-the-past-how-todays-ukrainian-culture-combines-tradition-and-modernity/

DEFILE THROUGH TIME: THE CANONS OF WOMEN'S FASHION IN AZERBAIJAN

Published in Culture
Friday, 13 April 2018 11:32

The Museum of Azerbaijani Culture named after Mirza Fatali Akhundov in partnership with the Initiative Curators Union (ICU) presents exhibition of photo project "Defile through time: the canons of women's fashion in Azerbaijan" of Azerbaijani photographer Rustam Huseynov from 20 to 26 April 2018. The opening of the exhibition will be held on 20 April at the Museum of Azerbaijani Culture named after M.F. Akhundov in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The project concept includes visual demonstration by modern means the most interesting design samples of historical Azerbaijani costumes to the audience, illustrating the evolution of women's fashion through the time space and its reflection in the modern context of fashion. Project curator Konul Rafiyeva has set a task to show the national identity through the traditional costume of an Azerbaijani woman, which has been reflection of the original culture of the Azerbaijani people for centuries. Changing gradually, the folk dress has become an expression of the national mentality and could tell a lot about the traditions and customs of the Azerbaijani people.

Photographer R. Huseynov has devoted a series of photographs to beauty and diversity of traditional women's clothing combining cultural and historical interest with design interest. The exposition includes his 25 photo portraits of Azerbaijani women in traditional garments of different districts of Azerbaijan, showing customs and life’s many-sidedness. In his work the photographer used samples of traditional clothes from the personal historical collection of Azerbaijani designer and collector Natavan Aliyeva. Reconstruction of historical eras’ clothes is an important stage in the preservation of the national cultural heritage and restoration of national images in the mass consciousness, lost by the public memory and known only to a very narrow circle of specialists.

In his works Huseynov pays special attention to interpretation of traditional headdresses of Azerbaijani women, underlining age and social differences. 

The thinnest silk scarves, so-called kelagai, which was combined with diadems and arakhchin (a national rounded cap), gives special charm to women's appearance of that time. When going somewhere from home, Azerbaijani women covered their clothes and headdresses by veil or so-called charshab made from cotton and silk smooth and printed fabrics. This part of upper clothes could be made from self-colored satin, checkered, or colored silk fabric.

The silhouette of the dress, its decorative solution obeyed the plasticity of silk fabrics, facture of satin, and softness of velvet. The upper garment covering shoulders - arkhaliq, chepken, lebbade, kuledge, kurdu, eshmek and bahari - had a peplum on the waist, gathered in pleat or thin crease that emphasized the waist and increased the circumference of hips. Presence of a magnificent multi-layered skirt made the silhouette of a woman more voluminous and visually charming.

Modern Azerbaijani designers successfully continue these traditions. Demonstration of Azerbaijani designer Natavan Aliyeva’s collection “Neo Classic Love" will be organized within the framework of project "Defile through time: the canons of women's fashion in Azerbaijan”. The collection visualizes the modern perception and the diversity of traditional women's costumes in the context of the reviving fashion for ethno-style in clothes for everyday wear. Echoing with the author's photographs of traditional appearance of the Azerbaijani woman, the collection of Aliyeva is modern in cut and shape, but focuses the attention of the viewer on such colors of the national garments of the 19th century as burgundy, blue, turquoise, and uses such element of the national wardrobe as kelagai and knitted socks. Motifs of national embroidery dominate in accessories created by hand and with scrupulousness inherent to the designer. This collection links the historical past of the Azerbaijani women's costume with modern fashion trends.

Youth Network for Developing Peace-building Leadership in Malaysia

Published in World
Monday, 22 May 2017 22:02

12 civil organizations and college students from diverse ethnic groups in Johor called out for youth empowerment to lead a harmonious society.

JOHOR BAHRU, 19 May– Celebrating a global youth networking event for peace-building, ‘Youth Leaders, Driving the Future Force!’ was held in Cosmopoint College of Johor Bahru city. Participated were about 90 youth leaders from 12 national and international organizations as well as college and secondary school students from diverse ethnic and religious groups in Johor.

As mutual understanding between diverse ethnic groups has been one of the major concerns both in a global and national level, the Johor division of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community of Malaysia (JPW: Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita) hosted this event in collaboration with various international NGOs and local organizations from diverse ethnicities.

As a part of the 4th annual commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), and Johor Peace Committee (JPC) which works actively in the region as HWPL Peace Advocacy Committee co-hosted this event with the local community including Cosmopoint College Johor Bahru and AIESEC Johor Bahru.

Ms. Amy Kim, an International Press Department manager of HWPL North Seoul branch said, “It is inspiring to see how we youth can empower each other through an event like this, to realize that mutual understanding and interactive communication are much needed for future leaders. Through this value and ability, we youth can realize peace and harmony in the society.”

Ms. Amirah Dayana Azlan, the vice chairperson of GEMA Johor said “It was satisfying to address the sensitive issue of differences in races and religions particularly in Malaysia, because it has always been an issue that is used to disrupt harmony here in our country. It was great to voice out how we feel and which attitude we should adopt in terms of diversity to the younger generation. May it be an eye opener to me and to every Malaysian.”

After taking part in interactive speech sessions and games, participants decorated the map of Malaysia with post-it cards on which they wrote their wishes for peace. During the VIP congratulatory speech, Mr. Muhammad bin Haziq Zakaria, a founder of Inspire Mind Academy who was the former member of the Youth Parliament of Malaysia emphasized that this kind of opportunity is necessary for the future leaders, youths because their mindset and perspective would be made continuously based on their experiences.

To found a peace-based education project, HWPL is developing a ‘Global Peace Leadership Program,’ a long-term mentoring program in Malaysia where students can have mentoring from professionals of various fields, on peace-building leadership in various occupations. The program is being developed in cooperation with student council associations to be applied from primary school to college.

Meanwhile, the 4th anniversary of the Declaration of World Peace is to be commemorated continuously in 44 countries in the following week. The Declaration is calling on ‘all youth to unite in an effort to stop wars and pursue the restoration of peace.’

Ministry of Education and Culture of the A/R of Abkhazia presented report of the work carried out in 2016

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 15:20

Ministry of Education and Culture of the A/R of Abkhazia presented report of the work carried out in 2016 at assembly hall of the Ministry. The Chair of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, Mariam Jashi, Chair of the Government of the A/R of Abkhazia, Vakhtang Kolbaia, First Deputy of the Chair of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, Genadi Margvelashvili, Chair of the Supreme Council of the A/R of Abkhazia, Elguja Gvazava, members of the government of the A/R of Abkhazia, Deputies of the Supreme Council of the A/R of Abkhazia and representatives of Non-governmental organizations attended the presentation.
First Deputy Minister Manana Kvachakia made a report on the main directions of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Abkhazia. Artistic Director of Abkhazian Song and Dance State Ensemble, Levan Ghvinjilia, talked about the activities of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia in the direction of culture, as well.
At the end of the report were presented the Abkhazian Song and Dance State Ensemble, Abkhazian State Choir, Sokhumi Young Audience Professional State Theatre "White Wave" and pupils of Abkhazian public school #2 presented performances with Abkhazian language.

The sitting of the Education, Science and Culture

Published in Politics
Friday, 16 December 2016 16:12

The Committee considered with the II reading the draft on Grants envisaging extension of the list of the grant issuer and recipients. According to the Chair, Mariam Jashi, authority to issue grants is granted to: LEPLs aiming at improvement of education quality and facilitation to integration of national minorities and highland population, as well as Sh. Rustaveli National Scientific Fund for the foreign citizens and LEPLs.
According to the Head of the Legal Provision Department of the Ministry of Education and Science, David Lominashvili, the International Education Center shall be subordinated to the Ministry since January, 2017 and relevantly the grants, issued by the Center in view of facilitation to education and funding youth projects. The MPs agreed to add the subject noted under reservation to the list of grant issuers. The draft on Science, Technologies and Development thereof” defines the events to be undertaken in case of refusal of the Head of the State Control Agency on appointment of the candidate elected and nominated by the Scientific Council of the organization. The draft on General Education entitles the Ministry of Education to define the term of different administrative proceeding for classification of the textbooks of schools.
As D. Lominashvili stated, distance education shall be established in schools. The draft also envisages the Ministry to finance the private schools and to allocate grants for public schools. The differentiated approaches to schools entailed discussion. Salome Zurabishvili considers that the Ministry shall render aid to schools in need.
As M. Jashi elucidated, deriving from the consultations with the Ministry and NGOs, differentiated administration is recommended. “We principally facilitate to establishment of differentiated approach to ensure recognition of best practice, establishment of uniform criterion evaluation system and motivation of the schools managing to achieve better academic results and innovations. It shall not be recognized in negative context”.
The draft on Higher Education reformulates the academic personnel of universities: professor, associate professor, assistant professor and the assistantAlexander Kantariadoes not agree with this ranking. Other changes envisage protection of rights of the students of the Theological programs and simplification of disposal of movable property accounted on the balance of the university. The Committee supported the drafts.

 

 

Culture and creativity grants and opportunities for Eastern Partnership region and beyond

Published in Society
Thursday, 09 June 2016 17:00
New opportunities for “artists, explorers and creative professionals”, including those residing and working in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, have been published by the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Program. A dedicated page highlights calls for proposals targeted at artists, designers, multimedia experts and researchers. Deadlines are approaching for Summer School for Journalists and Media Practitioners, and a Call for Eastern Partnership Journalism Fellows. Many more other interesting opportunities and capacity-building activities in the creative and media sectors are available through the Culture and Creativity page.
The EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Program supports the cultural and creative sectors’ contribution to sustainable humanitarian, social and economic development in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The four-year program will run until 2018, covering topics like cultural leadership, cultural and statistical research, audience development, cultural journalism, advocacy and fundraising.
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