AS PART of the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) 2013 project, the Days of Slovak Culture began in the French city of Marseilles. This year, Marseilles is sharing the ECOC title with the eastern-Slovak city of Košice.
The event, which started on May 14, was launched with a presentation of gastronomic delicacies and a jazz concert featuring PaCoRa trio & Bashavel. This was followed by “Slovak Week” in the Toursky theatre; the “Urban Interventions” exhibition, which demonstrates how small interventions can make a big impact; a screening of the Slovak documentary Paper Heads (1995, Dušan Hanák); a modern dance performance titled “Merriments of the Past” by the Theatre Studio of Dance; and a drama piece by Martin McDonagh (performed by the State Theatre Košice) called The Beauty Queen of Leenane. The event also included literary evenings with writer Jana Beňová, as well as an exhibition of the work of photographer Pavol Mário Smejkal, an exhibition of Slovak illustrations by Roman Ondák and Slovak folk art, the www.kosice2013.sk website informed.
The opening of Days of Slovak Culture brought together the mayors of Marseilles and Košice, Daniel Hermann and Richard Raši, respectively, as well as the teams who organised the Europe-wide project aimed at converging the different cultures and traditions as well as promoting cultural tourism and contemporary art. They exchanged their experiences with organising the ECOC – Marseilles has a different basis for financing than Košice – as well as ideas for how to prolong the positive impacts of the project and make them sustainable, the TASR newswire wrote. “We see the ECOC as an accelerator,” Hermann said, explaining that “the project should become the driving engine of the city, starting its development [with] new projects and contributing to a boost for the economy and tourism.” Raši conceded when comparing the two cities, that Košice will never have Marseilles’ beautiful harbour, but he emphasised his own city’s genius loci.