EU photo exhibition in Astana celebrates cultural heritage, highlights children’s creativity

ASTANA – The European Union (EU) Delegation to Kazakhstan’s photo exhibition “EU4Kids: Discover Europe with Kids” opened Oct. 12 in Astana to celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage and 25 years of diplomatic relations between the EU and Kazakhstan in the capital’s Kazmedia Centre, reports the centre’s press service.

Photo credit: European Union in Kazakhstan Facebook Page.

At the exhibition, Kazakh photographer Ospan Ali’s portraits of children aged three and a half to 14 years old styled as Europe’s most recognisable faces were presented. Project partners included Kazakhstan Kids Fashion Show 2018 and Aspara Fashion Week.

“Cultural heritage has a universal value for us, which is important to preserve and pass on to future generations,” said EU Delegation Head, Ambassador Sven-Olov Carlsson at the exhibition. “You may think of heritage as being ‘from the past’ or static, but it actually evolves through our engagement with it. What is more, our heritage has a big role to play in building the future of Europe. That is one reason why we want to reach out to young people in Kazakhstan during the European Year of Cultural Heritage.”

The exhibition features 25 portraits of famous European figures in science, music, fashion, art and sport. A professional team of makeup artists, hairdressers and stylists recreated looks of fashion icons Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Laetitia Casta, Carmen Kass and Petra Nemcova, scientists Albert Einstein and Marie Sklodowska-Curie, artists Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh, musicians Adele, Bono, Maria Callas, ABBA and George Michael, actresses Penélope Cruz, Brigitte Bardot, Ornella Muti, Monica Bellucci and Marlene Dietrich, athletes Nadia Comăneci, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and race car driver Mika Häkkinen.

Photo credit: European Union in Kazakhstan Facebook Page.

The project organisers were inspired by children’s freedom of thought, lively and emotional perception of the world, unshakeable belief in miracles and lack of perceived boundaries in dreaming.

“The project is interesting in that the EU took an atypical approach in presenting Europe’s cultural wealth. Children are full of sincerity and immediacy; they have an enthusiasm and lively energy that is highly important for conveying the power of cultural diplomacy. The child models withstood the photography sessions and posed as real stars, disregarding their uncomfortable outfits and wigs,” said Ali, whose photography is recognised in Kazakhstan and Europe.

The European Year of Cultural Heritage entails a series of initiatives and events held across Europe throughout 2018 to celebrate its diverse cultural heritage. In February, the EU and Kazakhstan began celebrating their 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations and continuing close and mutually beneficial cooperation.

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