Ukrainian artists adopted as Russia sees cultural blacklist

ROME (AP) – The Venice Biennale art exhibition, which has already seen members of the official Russian pavilion resign in protest against the invasion of Ukrainesaid on Wednesday that he was working to ensure that the artist representing Ukraine could show his work.

Pavlo Makov is set to represent Ukraine with ‘The Fountain of Exhaustion’. Acqua Alta” at the Biennale, which runs from April 23 to November 23. 27.

In a statement Wednesday, Biennale organizers said they were working to ensure that Makov could come to Italy and present his work as planned, despite the war in his native country.

It was the latest show of solidarity in the arts world with Ukraine, and a corresponding cultural blacklist from Russia and people linked to the government, which has found a parallel in much of the international sporting world.

The Venice festival said it would continue to welcome Russian artists who support free speech and opposed the invasion, but official Russian delegations and people affiliated with the Kremlin would not be allowed.

“As long as this situation persists, La Biennale rejects any form of collaboration with those who, on the contrary, have perpetrated or supported such a serious act of aggression,” the Biennale said.

Last week, the curator and members of the official Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale resigned in protest against the war. The festival hailed their decision as a “noble act of courage”.

To date, the growing cultural backlash against Moscow has included canceled Russian releases for Hollywood films and the severing of ties with famed Russian conductor Valery Gergiev.who is close to President Vladimir Putin and had expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

On Wednesday, Gergiev’s former manager canceled all of his upcoming North American concerts, citing his “reluctance to speak out against” the Russian invasion. Many classical music companies called on Gergiev to condemn the invasion, but the conductor remained publicly silent.

Gergiev, music director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, and its White Nights Festival, was fired from his duties as conductor of the Munich and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and replaced during the tour American of five concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

“I had an extraordinary 30-year professional relationship with Valery and it pains me deeply to see that relationship come to such an end,” her former manager, Doug Sheldon, said in a statement.

While Gergiev was blacklisted, the Kyiv Soloists National Chamber Ensemble is adopted as he opens a previously planned tour of Italy.

The prestigious Ukrainian chamber ensemble, which arrived in Italy last week at the start of the Russian invasion, is turning its tour into fundraising concerts to support the war effort in the country.

Originally scheduled to tour Italian cities through March 6, the ensemble is extending its tour and adding performances after receiving new invitations to appear, the members told The Associated Press.

They have changed their concert programs to remove a piece by 19th-century Russian composer Anton Arensky and replace it with one by Ukrainian composer Maxim Berezovsky, and add a call for peace in each room.

They performed this week in the southern city of Bari next to a sign with a large heart drawn in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag and a QR code for donations to Ukrainian troops. The set’s Facebook page also includes information for transferring donations through the Ukrainian National Bank.

“It’s very difficult to play, my soul and my heart break while I play,” said double bass player Igor Patsovskyi, who has a wife, daughter and mother in Kyiv.

The Kyiv Ensemble was founded in 1996 and has been an important ambassador of the country’s musical culture, performing in prestigious theaters and concert halls in Europe and the United States.

The musicians spend their free time in Italy – between performances and rehearsals – relentlessly checking their cellphones for family updates and watching video clips of the devastation.

Violinist Kateryna Mysechko says she is struggling to put aside her concern for her family to perform, but for now the orchestra cannot go home.

“I just think of the shootings, the shootings in our cities,” she said. “It’s very difficult to play.


Anthony McCartney contributed from Los Angeles.

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