Monday, April 2, 2007

Getting back on track..."They ask us, if we have a culture"

I was pleasantly surprised to see an article of the title above on the Ukrainska Pravda. It reaffirms that some of the things that I have been trying to bring to the fore for discussion on my blog are not far fetched, and that well known figures in contemporary Ukrainian literary circles such as Oksana Zabushko are raising similar points but from a slightly different perspective than I am trying to do in the area of Ukrainian music.

Неймовірна кількість сьогоднішніх українських проблем, пов'язаних із невизначеністю, ще й дотепер, нашого місця на міжнародній арені спричинена, на моє щонайглибше переконання, одним вельми сумним фактом – тим, що сучасна Україна не є культурною державою.

Wrote Zabushko in her first paragraph of the article. She is absolutely right, contemporary Ukraine is not a cultural state, and it has a long way to go before it becomes one. While some oligarchs are starting to put money into the arts, the government has no clear policy of what it is doing in the area of culture. It has no strategic plan, and any laws that are in place to help contemporary culture, such as content laws, are simply not enforced.

Nevertheless, it seems that I am finding allies in this area. After about two months of a friend of mine saying that I have to meet one of the journalists that works with him at the Kyiv Weekly and who reports on cultural matters it finally happened. He had mentioned that we already knew one another and he was right, its just that so often I am better with faces than names.

Dmytro and I met and spent almost two hours discussing some of the problems in the cultural sphere in Ukraine and decided that we would have to meet again, and if possible find projects to work on that can be mutually beneficial, with or without the help of the Ukrainian government.


  1. Good work, Vasyl! Just ignoring the government and moving forward seems to work best for Ukrainians the world over ...

  2. Great thinking. Zabuzhko is overly critical. What can you ask of a nation that hardly caught up on satisfying their basic needs. Culture is way on the top of this pyramid. This does not mean that some efforts should be made, government including.

    Although, historically its interventions were only marginally good. The rest smelled with too much formalization. Take BBC as a good example. These days culture is so diverse, that one single effort by the state will find more criticism that applause no matter how good.

    Private investment, like the notorious Pinchuk art center, are the best way to go. After all, Rome is famous for its art because its various interchangeable rulers wanted to put up a monument to themselves..

  3. Well Zabushko may be over critical, but criticism has to start somewhere.

    You are right regarding the stench of formalization, but at the current time when we have a market that is truly controlled by those with money as opposed to those with taste can you suggest the proper level of formalization.

    When it come to the music scene musicians have to have more of a say, but unfortunately, like most others in the country they have a problem consolidating, in order to work towards their common and best interests.