During the conference in Switzerland, Oleksandr Tkachenko spoke about the challenges and achievements of Ukrainian culture during the war

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On April 26 and 27, the conference “Renaissance of Arts and Culture in Ukraine, exemplified by Odesa and Odesa Region ” is being held in Bern. The event is organized for the exchange of experience between Ukrainian and European experts in various fields of culture.

The program includes presentations of Odesa’s cultural institutions, such as museums, libraries and theaters, dedicated to the current challenges and needs of the cultural sphere. There were also presentations about artistic self-activity in Odesa,the Odesa Classics Music Festival, a film studio and the cultural diversity of the Ukrainian gem.

The Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, joined the conference via video call and  emphasized the important role of art and culture for the identity and restoration of Ukraine.

“From the first days of the full-scale war in Ukraine, it became clear that this is a war against culture. The invader does not recognize our right to exist and does not want our original Ukrainian culture to exist. The invasion has changed completely not only our understanding of the world in which we live, but also our attitude to values and traditions. All the Ukrainians have united  unprecedentedly to preserve our Ukrainian – freedom, territory, culture, millennium-long history. And not only Ukrainian values, but also European ones,” noted Oleksandr Tkachenko.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine causes serious destruction of cultural institutions and objects of cultural heritage. As of the end of March 2023, at least 580 destroyed or damaged sites of cultural heritage were documented, and more than 1,373 objects of cultural infrastructure were affected.

Losses of Ukrainian museums, archives and other cultural institutions which were looted are under verification. Only in Kherson, according to the preliminary calculations, around 23,217 objects, as well as 37 inventory books, were stolen from the Kherson Regional Local Lore Museum by russian occupation authorities.

Despite all war challenges, Ukrainian culture is functioning. More than 50 premiers were performed on stages of Ukrainian theaters in 2022.

Among the main priorities of the MCIP for 2023, the Minister named: damage assessment, digitalization of cultural sphere, access to culture (strengthening of cultural institutions to resume their activities), support for creation of new cultural products and content, cultural reintegration of de-occupied territories after linguicide, cultural and media isolation.

“The culture of each nation is unique and is made up of a cultural diversity mosaic. The loss of at least one element will be a loss not for a single nation, but for the whole world. Today, it is the right time for the entire civilized world to act and show that it remains faithful to their fundamental values,” said the Minister.

Galyna Grygorenko, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy, took part in the panel discussion “Moving towards the future – building back better in culture and education in Ukraine”.

Overall, during the panel discussions within the conference, participants discussed the situation of Ukrainian artists, art management, financing of Ukrainian culture from private and public sources, as well as ways to expand international support for Ukraine in the field of culture and protection of cultural heritage during wartime. The event also featured an exhibition of photos and paintings from Odesa, as well as a piano concert.

Among the participants and guests of the conference were Ukrainian and European diplomats, politicians, musicians, cultural industry managers, experts, and representatives of international organizations responsible for culture and  cultural heritage protection. The event was organized by the Legato Bern-Odesa association.

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