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Messages to the UNESCO 2003 Convention

Democracy through Culture – NGO – Ukraine

By November 4, 2023December 3rd, 2023No Comments

ICH: tender but strong as our will

The strength and richness of intangible cultural heritage multiplied by international cooperation could be an efficient answer to emergencies, including the war. On the 613th day of the large-scale military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, the exhibition Ukrainian intangible cultural heritage: crafts, practices and traditions opened in the Fredrikstad Museum, Norway.

The event, under the slogan “Crafts against missiles”, has been realized to commemorate the 20th anniversary of UNESCO Convention 2003 discovering the importance of cultural exchange and mutual understanding between nations with living heritage.

Joint efforts to safeguard the culture: The exhibition is a result of joint initiative of three organizations accredited for the UNESCO Convention 2003: the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture” (Ukraine), National Union of Folk-Art Masters of Ukraine, and Norwegian Crafts Institute. These institutions with support of Fredrikstad Museum, National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO, Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine and the Charitable Foundation “MHP-Hromadi” strive to fill cultural gaps and to strengthen bilateral relations.  

Deep diving into Ukrainian intangible cultural heritage: From bright, complicated drawings of Petrykivka decorative painting testifying the rich artistic heritage of 18 c. Ukraine (Representative List, 2013), to melodic sounds of kobza and wheel lyre reflecting the depth and the soul of Ukrainian music traditions, traditional Easter painted eggs (pysankas) to various art pieces of Ukrainian craftsmen, including pottery, wood carving, weaving.   

Workshops and knowledge transmission: Mistresses of pysankarstvo (eggs painting), masters of Petrykivka painting and kobza players from Petrykivka, Kyiv and Lviv Kobzar Tsekhs and National Union of Folk-Art Masters of Ukraine have conducted a set of masterclasses and workshops for museum visitors, including children and persons with impaired vision. Norwegian masters shared their knowledge and skills in musical instrument making with Ukrainian masters in a professional discussion-demonstration, the pinnacle of which has been music concerts with kobza, bandura, hurdy-gurdy and violins.

Echo of the war in culture: The exhibition represented artefacts of the impact of war on Ukrainian culture and intangible cultural heritage. The history takes place through photos, video and art pieces highlighting resistance, sacrifice and the immortal spirit of the nation. This exhibition, embracing the wide picture of Ukrainian heritage, serves as a beacon of hope and unity. It is the evidence of common traditions, understanding and fortitude in the face of difficulties.

Message from Development Centre “Democracy through Culture” – NGO – Kyiv, Ukraine

With gratitude to Norwegian Crafts Institute, National Union of Folk-Art Masters of Ukraine

Photo credits: Maria Shevchenko (with permission), rights are granted by Democracy through Culture.