ASTANA – To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Italy, festivals called Days of Culture of Kazakhstan are being held in Rome, Milan and Turin. The events kicked off on March 21st in Rome, coinciding with the Kazakh festival Nauryz Meiramy, the holiday of spring renewal.
“It is symbolic that this important event in the cultural life of Kazakhstan and Italy, which is of great importance for strengthening and developing Kazakh-Italian relations, was organised on this day,” Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Italy, Andrian Elemesov, said in his speech at the opening ceremony.Kazakhstan Film Week was held as part of the Days of Culture festivals. The film “The Sky of My Childhood” by Rustam Abdrashov, depicting the childhood and youth of the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was featured on opening day. Italians also saw six of the most successful Kazakhfilm productions, including “Kyz Zhibek” by Sultan Khodzhikov, “The Old Men” by Ermek Tursunov, “The Thousand Young Warriors” by Akan Satayev, “Virtual Love” by Amir Karakulov, “Tale of the Pink Hare” by Farhad Sharipov and “Little Hunter” by Yerlan Nurmukhambetov. After the screenings, actors Nurzhuman Ikhtymbaev, Meruert Utekesheva, Asylkhan Tolepov, Alia Anuarbek, Erbolat Toguzakov and Maxim Akbarov, all stars of the films, met with Italian spectators.
Festival goers were introduced to folk crafts in the arts and crafts exhibition, which also included national costumes and books on the cultural life of Kazakhstan. A photo exhibition captured modern Kazakhstan and the main political, economic, cultural and social achievements of the young state. Children adopted from Kazakhstan and primary school students in Rome organised a children’s painting exhibition.
The symphony and folk instrument orchestras from the Kazakh National Arts University (KazNAU) presented their own jubilee programme. Students played compositions by European classical composers as well as Kazakh folk music. The dance group Nur (“sunbeam” in Kazakh) performed national dances.
The main organisers of the Days of Culture of Kazakhstan events were the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Italy, the cultural development fund Together for Europe and the mayor’s offices in Rome, Milan and Turin.
Cultural contacts between Kazakhstan and Italy grow from year to year. Italy, known for its historical and cultural heritage, has become a favourite place for tours by Kazakhstan’s musicians and artists. The La Scala theatre trains young, talented Kazakh singers. In turn, Italian artists with international recognition share their talents with Kazakh audiences. Italian singer Son Pascal performs duets with Kazakh singers, sometimes even singing in Kazakh. After the devastating earthquake in Abruzzo on April 6, 2009, the government of Kazakhstan provided financial assistance in the amount of 1.7 million euros for the restoration of historic monuments and the Church of San Biagio in Amiternum. Kazakhstan and Italy commemorated Kazakhstan’s soldiers who died during WWII during the liberation of the cities of Trieste and Gorizia by erecting a monument in Trieste.
In June 2012, during Italy’s Republic Day, Astana hosted the exhibition “Sophia and Marcello,” dedicated to the two great Italian actors, as well as a presentation of classic Italian films over the annual Italian Language in the World Week.
Representatives of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Republic, the diplomatic corps, the office of the mayor of Rome and members of the Kazakh diaspora in Italy attended the opening ceremony.