European Cultural Week in Kyiv celebrates Europe’s “unity in diversity”

Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombiński (right) and EU Delegation's Head of Press and Information Section Zoltan Szalai (left) at Homo Urbanus Europeanus exhibition
Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombiński (right) and EU Delegation’s Head of Press and Information Section Zoltan Szalai (left) at Homo Urbanus Europeanus exhibition

Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombiński, together with French and Croatian Ambassadors, Alain Remy and Tomislav Vidošević, officially inaugurated the European Cultural Week in Kyiv on May 14. Together, they opened the photo exhibition, “Homo Urbanus Europeanus,” by French photographer Jean-Marc Caracci at the Khanenko Art Museum in the Ukrainian capital.

Besides popularising the cultures and traditions of the EU member states in Ukraine, European Cultural Week is also a way to stress the cultural unity of European countries that goes beyond political borders,” Ambassador Tombiński said at the opening ceremony. “This year the EU will enlarge, opening its doors to Croatia, which is set to become the 28th member state of the European Union on 1 July 2013. Ukraine is also a part of Europe’s cultural space and we hope it will come closer to the EU this year,” he added.

A joint initiative of the EU Delegation to Ukraine and European embassies and cultural institutions, European Cultural Week was celebrated in Ukraine for the first time this year. Held from May 9-18, events included the performance of “Messa da Requium” by Giuseppe Verdi, lectures on EU member states’ experiences in the European Union, poetry readings, the vernissage of Ukrainian painter Nikifor, free language workshops, and French song workshops. The “Homo Urbanus Europeanus” photo exhibition by Jean-Marc Caracci, which opened the European Cultural Week, was another opportunity to stress Europe’s “unity in diversity.”

Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombiński (centre), together with French and Croatian Ambassadors, Alain Remy (left) and Tomislav Vidošević (right)
Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombiński (centre), together with French and Croatian Ambassadors, Alain Remy (left) and Tomislav Vidošević (right)

With Sicilian origins, born in Tunis and raised in Montpellier, France, Jean-Marc Caracci is keen to go beyond national cultures and to represent the European identity. “All these places belong to the Mediterranean – a region, where Europe was born,” remarks French ambassador Alain Remy about the author of the exhibition. The photographer himself doesn’t deny the political and cultural motivation behind his project: “Of course we [European countries] are different socially, culturally and historically, but if we avoid tourist areas and traditional restaurants, suddenly we realise that we are not in France, Ireland or Greece anymore, we are simply in Europe.”

Tomislav Vidošević, the Croatian ambassador, agreed with the photographer: “All the European cities represented in the photo exhibition share a common spirit that the photographer was trying to emphasise,” he said.  The diplomat also stressed that Croatia, as a new EU member state, will assist its immediate neighbours on their way toward joining the EU, and will support Ukraine’s European aspirations.

Background

The photo series, “Homo Urbanus Europeanus,” is the fruit of French photographer, Jean-Marc Caracci’s three years of travel across Europe. Its major goal is to capture Europeans in their cities, in order to represent what Caracci calls a European “Urban Being.” The project consists of 31 series, representing 31 European capitals, all photographed in the same style: sober and without any cultural or social visibility, favouring the similarity and “europeanity” of human experience in different European cities. The “Homo Urbanus Europeanus” project is an artistic tool for uniting European countries, whether they belong to the European Union or not.