The Cultural Forum “DONKULT” held by our initiative in Kyiv from October 28 to November 11 produced a great public response. The Forum held 83 art events, demonstrating the intellectual and cultural potential of Donbass. The admission to all the events was free. Within two weeks the forum was attended by 15 000 visitors. Illustrated report on the project you can find here.
“DONKULT” became a pilot project of the Cultural Forums series, initiated by The Charity Foundation «The Depths of Art».
The organizer of the forums is the Charity Foundation “The Depths of Art”. The name of the foundation arose from the founders’ realizing of invaluable significance of historical, cultural, religious and artistic achievements of Ukrainian people, which is a strategic resource for the future prosperity of a sovereign state.
The Charity Foundation “The Depths of Art” was set up in October 2014 by the leading experts in the field of fine arts, music, theater, literature and cultural studies. The Foundation intends to create a new image of Ukraine as a highly cultural state and a reason for a national pride. The founders are eager to expand cultural potential of Ukraine through its multinational and multicultural diversity by organizing a series of forums that will demonstrate intellectual and artistic depths of Ukrainian regions, and will become platforms for inter-regional and inter-disciplinary communications.
Today our country is experiencing a humane disaster. The war in the Eastern Ukraine is rather its consequence, not a cause. A long-term economic and political crisis has led to poverty, but chronic cultural crisis can lead to much longer and even fatal consequences. The lack of cultural education resulted in the fact that most citizens know very little about the artistic heritage of their own region and of the country as a whole. And accordingly, they don’t have any reasons to be proud of their motherland. Only pride for the historical and artistic achievements can motivate the people to start believing in a strong national idea that will unite the country.
The value of Ukrainian culture is certainly the result of its national diversity, millennial experience and mutual coexistence of different civilizations, religious and artistic traditions. During the time when economic and political factors are disabling to unite the society, culture can only become the basis of humanistic consolidation.
The message of the Cultural Forums is to create the cause for the national pride by showing the enormous intellectual and artistic potential of all Ukrainian regions to the public.
The aim presupposes research and presentation of the depths of art giving them the status of an active unifying national idea factor.
The project presupposes to organize multidisciplinary art forums dedicated to a particular region of Ukraine twice a year. The forum will represent the achievements in the field of fine arts, music, literature, theater, and cinema. There will be held lectures, discussions, meetings with the artistic elite of the region, as well as workshops for children. The forum will also become an opportunity for artists (of different types of art and different geographical locations) to communicate with each other.
The main idea is to hold forums in different regions, to show the East in Lviv, Galicia – in Kharkiv, Odesa region – in Chernihiv, etc.
We are planning to hold a two-week forum “DONKULT” in the second half of June 2015 in Lviv, using the experience and successful events of Kyiv Forum. During the organization there will be involved cultural figures – Donbass residents and immigrants from the eastern region now living in Lviv and its region, and in addition, social activists and local public community.
Relying on the forum “DONKULT”’s experience in Kyiv, it is worth emphasizing its current aspects, namely:
European Factors in the Forum program:
- lectures, documentary materials and historical information on display tell the visitors of the impact of some particular individuals (Englishman John Hughes and Scotsman Charles Gascoigne) and western innovative technologies on the development of Donbass and its transformation from wild steppe into a modern and progressive region in the early twentieth century ;
- screenings of the documentaries from European directors (M. Hlavohher, G. Mokaer, J. Preuss) about the miners’ life as well as meetings with photographers who created photographic series of “miners’ Donbass”, provoke active debates on social issues and Ukraine’s integration into Europe;
- a lecture-discussion program provides an active discussion of the experience of “coal” European regions – Wales, Ruhr, Lorraine, etc., and the role of cultural institutions in overcoming post-industrial depression.
- cultural and educational program aimed to explore the artistic features, history and folklore of the region is mainly focused on the general public and various ages (from toddlers to pensioners). However, some events are designed for the professional community – sociologists, culturologists, political scientists, etc., or age category – students and young people;
- opportunity for the participants and visitors of the Forum to express different, sometimes diametrically opposite, opinions on the situation in the eastern Ukraine and in the country as a whole;
- destruction of the prevailing stereotypes and negative socio-cultural labels associated with the Eastern region of Ukraine;
- activation of the philanthropy at the local community level;
- attraction of the students-volunteers in the preparation stage and during the project itself, so the forum becomes an educational platform for the future cultural and civic activists;
- due to the free entrance to all the events of the Forum in Kyiv, it was visited by over 15 000 people, many of whom represented the vulnerable layer of the population (children, pensioners, disabled people);
- providing opportunities for children, firstly for the children of immigrants from Donbas, to visit the children’s program of the Forum (performances, workshops, etc.);
- most of the Forum events are focused on the involvement of the visitors to participate.
- multidisciplinary program presents different types of art: painting, graphics, sculpture, decorative arts, media art, music, theater, cinema, literature, fashion;
- the representatives of various branches of culture are provided with the opportunity to communicate effectively and cooperate creatively;
- the project reflects cultural heritage in the historical retrospective review as well as modern, contemporary art;
- many events combine different types of art, embodying cluster principles: theatrical music performance, music video art, literary and musical readings, live-installations, lectures and discussion program after movie screenings, etc.
- Forum participants are the residents of Donbass, people who were born there, and artists whose creative work is associated with this region;
- local representatives of various art spheres are actively involved in the cooperation;
- multinational peculiarity of the region and the role of the national groups in formation of the the cultural environment are observed as much as possible;
- the areas for presentation of own projects for the artistic associations, presenting contemporary art provided;
- there is an opportunity created to communicate for the representatives from different Eastern Ukrainian cultural institutions with government agencies on the issues of staying in the occupied territories in the status of “temporally displaced people” and state strategy in its regard.
During the Cultural Forum “DONKULT” in Lviv we would like to gather an initiative group of Galicians to help fulfil the next project, which would present Galicia in Kyiv and in the east of Ukraine, e.g in Kharkiv and Dnipro.
In the end such events should raise the cultural level of citizens, provide the knowledge about the wealth and diversity of Ukrainian culture, create humanitarian relations with other nations, overcome template stereotypes and master the development tools of cultural events consumption and analysis.
The need for a cultural product and ability to identify and evaluate it are extremely important and strategically significant. This is the basis of respect for the country as a whole, each individual segment of it – region, ethnicity, personality, including one’s own. Mutual respect is a foundation of social stability and prosperity.