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Ukrainian and Danish Voices of Dignity: Ukraine House Commemorates War Anniversary

On the solemn occasion of the second anniversary of the full-scale war in Ukraine, the Ukraine House in Denmark together with Goethe Institute, Danish Culture Institute, and Mungo Park proudly presented "Voices of Dignity: Poetry and Music from Ukraine", a Danish-Ukrainian dialogue showcasing the resilience and creativity of Ukrainian writers. The event marked the first-ever performance during which Ukrainian writers shared their powerful work to articulate the inexpressible suffering of the Ukrainian nation during the war, and renowned Danish actors amplified their voices, demonstrating a profound cultural exchange between Ukraine and Denmark.

Over 150 guests came to Ukraine House in Denmark to commemorate the second anniversary of the Russian full-scale war in Ukraine through poetry and music. Among them ambassadors from numerous countries including the United States, France, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania, Georgia, Israel, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Mexico, Egypt, and Bulgaria, further underscoring the international significance of this cultural exchange and global solidarity with Ukraine.

Six Ukrainian authors -  Kateryna Kalytko, Iya Kiva, Halyna Kruk, Iryna Tsilyk, Iryna Shuvalova, and Oleksandr Mykhed  - shared their poetry, with Danish actors Ghita Nørby, Sophie Grobjøl, Klas Bang, Mia Lerdam, and Niklas Søderberg Lundstrøm rendering their works in Danish. The evening was further enriched by a captivating musical arrangement by Ukrainian performer Olesya Zdorovetska.

"At the time when many Ukrainian artists, including Oleksandr Mykhed, have made a conscious choice to defend Ukraine in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, when over 97 Ukrainian poets and writers have been killed during the Russian invasion, while our living poets are in mortal danger in Ukraine every day, we have created a safe space for a true dialogue, a space for Ukrainian and Danish language and voices to become one, and in this way support the Ukrainian voices and perspectives. For the first time the Danish audience has experienced a number of poems and texts that have been translated into Danish for this occasion. I hope that the event is the pre-event that will pave the way for the Danish publishers to create and publish the Ukrainian authors, put together anthologies, and bring their voices into every Danish home," commented Nataliia Popovych, chairperson of Ukraine House in Denmark. "We are infinitely grateful to our Danish friends, who understand the meaning of the word "solidarity" and show respect for a culture that is forced to defend its right to exist. In solidarity with a world that values dignity and diversity, we are invincible."

"I think it's not an exaggeration to say, on behalf of all Ukrainians present here tonight, that this was a profoundly significant evening to express our gratitude to the Danish people for their unwavering support. It was incredibly emotional. It's both strange and immensely important to reflect on the fact that just two years ago, on this very evening, we couldn't have fathomed receiving such widespread, heartfelt support from the world. Particularly at a time when global interest may be waning. It underscores the vital importance of Ukrainian voices being heard, of continuing to speak our uncomfortable truths, even when they're difficult, and knowing there are people willing to listen,"  - said Kateryna Kalytko, Ukrainian poet, who on February 23,  during a liturgy at Holmens Cathedral, attended by esteemed dignitaries including representatives from the Danish government and His Majesty King Frederik X of Denmark, delivered a moving recitation of her poem Izium "Prayer", setting the tone for the profound artistic expressions to follow.

“Last Saturday, we got very close to the incomprehensible; what happens when war invades your everyday life? What happens when normality ceases and both your present and future are changed forever? Our hearts and minds will not forget the powerful, touching, and frightening texts of the Ukrainian authors, conveyed by the acclaimed Danish actors. It was an extremely powerful and moving afternoon that once again reminded all of us how important it is to stand together with Ukraine - not least the country's struggling cultural life,” - said Camilla Mordhorst, CEO of Danish Cultural Institute:

"In fact, this is not my first visit to Denmark. From my two previous visits, particularly the second one during the full-scale invasion, I witnessed Denmark's strong support firsthand. I had a meeting with the Danish Minister of Culture and performed at the Roskilde festival. Being here during the anniversary of the invasion holds great symbolism for me, and I'm glad such an event took place. The continued support and understanding from the Danish people are invaluable, especially in today's world, saturated with harsh news and emotions. It was a challenging yet significant moment for me, seeing so many people voluntarily sharing in our experiences and pain during this emotionally difficult evening. It underscores the importance of ongoing support. I want to express my gratitude for organizing this event and I'm pleased we could contribute to this shared sense of solidarity." - shared Halyna Kruk..

"You could feel the intensity in the room, and it was truly heart-wrenching to witness. Everyone was in tears, deeply moved as they listened to us and the recordings of colleagues who are no longer with us. It left a profound impact, even on us Ukrainians, despite my familiarity with the texts of everyone present; I've read and heard them countless times. I simply wish for more events of this caliber for all of us, not just in Denmark, but everywhere."  - said Iya Kiva.

The “Voices of Dignity” event was also supported by EUNIC Denmark, PEN Ukraine and the Embassy of Ukraine in Denmark and serves as an international declaration of support for Ukrainian art and culture in the face of adversity.


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