Ukraine and Belgium’s cultural cooperation has been growing in the past years and now includes exchanges in almost every art field: painting, music, theatre, cinema, and literature.
In 2017-2019 works of Ivan Marchuk, Mykola Telizhenko, Roman Minin, Mykyta Kadan, Alevtyna Kakhidze, Eduard Belskiy, Oleksandr Kudriavchenko, Bohdan Holoyad, Serhii Svyatchenko, Viktor Orly, Ihor Musin, Svitlana Lebiga, Nadiia Senychak and others were presented in art centers, galleries and fairs of modern art. In March 2020, a second year in a row, Ukrainian Arts Week took place in Brugge.
Performances by artists from National Opera of Ukraine, СХІД-Opera (Kharkiv), Odessa opera, Kharkiv philarmony always are greeted by a full house.
Performances by Ukrainian folk groups: bandurist capella “Dzvinga”, bandurist duo of Roman Hrynkiv and Larysa Dediukh, Ukrainian folk-ethnographic ensemble “Kalyna”, “Yunist’ Podillia”, as well as modern bands, such as “Odyn v Kanoe”, “DakhaBrakha”, “Dakh Daughters”, were welcomed by Belgium public.
Ukrainian films (art films, documentaries, short films, animation) are shown during the cinema festivals in Belgium. In October, 2018, film “Cursed Days” (dir. Anatolii Yurchenko) received the main prize of Brussel’s International Cinema Festival in Best Documentary nomination. In March, 2019, film “My Father is my Mother’s Brother” (dir. Vadym Ilkov) was screened during Millenium festival. During the annual festival “Bridges. East of West Fest” in January 2020, films “Atlantis” by Valentyn Vasianovych, “My Father is my Mother’s Brother” by Vadym Ilkov, “Volcano” by Roman Bondarchuk as well as “Brief Encounters” by Kira Muratova were shown.
In March 2019 in Brussels the multidisciplinary festival “Ukrainian Spring” took place in prestigious center of fine arts BOZAR. The audience could enjoy the movies “The Wild Fields” by Yaroslav Lodygin, “The Gateway” by Volodymyr Tykhyy, “Swan Lake: The Zone” by Yuri Ilyenko, as well as the animated film “The Stolen Princess” by Oleh Malamuzh. Apart from movies, the program of festival included concert of “Dakh Daughters” band and meetings with Ukrainian writers.
In 2020, due to the pandemia Covid-19, the festival “Ukrainian Spring” took place 18-20 September. Films, presented during the festival, - “My Thoughts are Silent” by A.Lukich, “Homeward” by N.Aliev, “The Earth is Blue as an Orange” by I.Tsilyk – gained great interest from Belgian and international audience. The festival 2020 also featured with online films screening – such movies as “The Tribe” by M.Slaboshpytskyi, “Wild Fields” by Y.Lodyhin, “When the Trees Fall” by M.Nikitiuk, “My Father is My Mother’s Brother” by V.Ilkov.
Meetings between Ukrainian writers and Belgian public are new direction of Ukraine-Belgium cultural cooperation. During 2018-2020, such events were held with guest writers Serhii Zhadan, Andrii Kurkov, Oksana Zabuzhko, Mark Livin, Bohdan Kolomiichuk, Pavlo Arie, Oleg Sentsov, Irena Karpa. In January, 2019, Andrii Kurkov was invited as an honorary guest to Brussels Book Fair. On October 2, 2019, Ukrainian writer Haska Shyyan received in Brussels European Union Prize for Literature.
Among other interesting literary events held during 2019-2020 it is worth to mention the presentation of Ukrainian translation from Dutch language of the book “The Sorrow of Belgium” by Hugo Claus and “The Misfortunates” by Dimitri Verhulst; presentation of Ukrainian translation for the comic book “Tintin” by famous Belgian cartoonist Hergé, presentation of the book by Belgian scientist with Ukrainian roots Roman Yakemchuk “Independence”.
Ukrainian musicians take an active part in festivals and concerts that are held in Belgium. In 2019 two Ukrainian performers participated in prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition; pianists Anna Fedorova and Oleksandr Romanovskyi performed during Brussels Chopin Days; famous virtuoso pianist Lubomyr Melnyk gave a concert during the “Les nuits 2019” festival.
On September 26, 2019, in Brussels famous Ukrainian festival HoholFest was named as one of the winners of the prestigious EFFE Awards 2019-2020 by European Festivals Association.
In 2019, for the 4th time Ukrainian participants joined yearly International Festival “eat!Brussels drink!Bordeaux”. For the last three years, Ukraine, represented by a knaip-club “Kupidon” from Kyiv, proposed during the festival food from different regions of Ukraine.
The inauguration of the sculpture of Anna Yaroslavna, Queen of France, in the city of Arlon on October, 12, 2019, gained much interest. According to sources, she has visited this city during her trip to France.A lot of attention of Belgian public is directed at events that talk about Russian aggression against Ukraine: movie screenings of “The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov” by Andrii Kurov, “Cyborgs” by Ahmet Seitablayev, “Donbas”, “Maydan” by Serhii Loznytsia, “Atlantis” by V.Vasianovych, “Invisible batallion” and VR-movie “Rozsypne” by Lisa Weeda; presentation of book by Dmytro Muravskyi “Through War” and photo exhibition “Faces of the Peace”; presentation of the edition “Ukraine in Histories and Stories: Essays by Ukrainian Intellectuals”; art exhibition by Alevtyna Kakhidze “Kyiv-Muzychi-Brussels”; presentation of the graphic novel “Hole” by S.Zakharov.