Six Belarusian artists to come to the Czech Republic

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The Embassy of Independent Belarusian Culture at the Center for Experimental Theatre initiated residencies for Belarusian artists. The cooperation with the Moravian Library and Czech Literary Center successfully provided the residencies for two Belarusian writers. The Brno House of Arts will provide residencies to two Belarusian visual artists. The National Theatre invited two Belarusian playwrights. There will be six Belarusian artists staying in the Czech Republic as of May this year.

Residence for Belarusian writers

Moravian Library and Czech Literary Centre in association with the Embassy of Independent Belarusian Culture announced a residence in the Czech Republic for Belarusian writers. Twenty-three Belarusian writers participated in the call and the jury selected writer and journalist Sjarhej Kalenda and poetess Nasta Kudasava.

Belarusian writers will spend four weeks at the study and creative residency in Prague and Brno.

“We should not forget about basic human solidarity and interest in the other person even in this pandemic situation when the borders of the states keep opening and closing and the global village becomes a place where lions live. Literature is a unique tool for communication and it is good when authors may accompany it as well. We will do everything to incorporate topics they bring in the Czech literary life,” said Professor Tomáš Kubíček, director of the Moravian Library.

Residency block for Belarusian artists

The international residency program organized by the Brno House of Arts is called Brno Artists in Residence. It aims to support contemporary visual culture, makes space for the exchange of ideas between the Czech and international art scene. The Embassy of Independent Belarusian Culture enticed a special residency block intending to support Belarusian culture in visual arts. Twelve Belarusian artists participated in the call and the jury selected Uladzimir Hramovich and Alesia Zhitkevich”.

“We understand the residency as a medium for the realization of artistic projects and experiments, as a format for artistic activities that do not necessarily aim at a classical exhibition, but also other ways of presentation. We support the idea of mobility and exchange,” said Terezie Petišková, the director of the Brno House of Arts.

Residencies of Belarusian artists in Brno will take place on 1-31 May 2021.

Belarusian playwrights in the National Theatre

National Theatre Drama and Prague Crossroads festival have decided to offer creative scholarship and residence in Prague to two Belarusian playwrights. The call was not limited by the author’s age or citizenship and was designed for authors writing in Belarusian or Russian. The residents should have time for working on their dramatic pieces and allow the Czech public to learn about contemporary Belarusian drama. Both established and emerging authors responded to the call.

Based on the materials, motivation letters, careful examination of the production, and the evaluation of the planned projects, the jury of the National Theatre Drama selected two women – playwrights Aksana Haiko and Alena Ivanyuschenko. Aksana Haiko was born in 1976 and is a theatre director, actress, playwright, cultural manager, teacher, and founder of “Free Theatre” in Brest. Alena Ivanyuschenko is three years younger, she is a journalist, writer, and successful playwright acknowledged both locally and worldwide. Both women approached us with their hones motivation letter, touching life story, and the original topic of the planned drama.

We would like to help other artists who applied for the residency at the National Theatre Drama. Making the decision was very demanding. The excerpts from their work convinced us that we should present other authors to Czech audiences and announce the call again in autumn.

Embassy of Independent Belarusian Culture in the Czech Republic

The Embassy of Independent Belarusian Culture in the Czech Republic was founded as part of the Center for Experimental Theatre in Brno. It symbolically opened on 17th November on the occasion of the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The theatremakers aimed at following the legacy of Václav Havel and draw attention to current problems in violating basic human rights and freedom.

“We keep monitoring what is going on in Belarus where people, despite extensive arrests, imprisonments, oppression, and threats, do not cease to fight for fair elections, freedom, and democracy. People in Central and West Europe do not know much about this country – we are convinced that independent Belarusian culture and the overall context of current activities in Belarus needs to be discussed in the public space,” says Miroslav Oščatka, the director of the Centre for Experimental Theatre.

The ambassador is Belarusian translator Siarheui Smatrychenka, who has been trying to establish a cultural exchange between Belarus and the Czech Republic. In 2015, Smatrychenka received the Jiří Theiner Award for spreading Czech culture.