POESTATE 2020: Distant, but Close

The Italian and French speaking canton of Ticino in Switzerland is world-known for its Locarno Film Festival, taking place for already eighty decades. Following its footsteps in terms of promoting and spreading the culture of art is the much younger, but as much energetic international POESTATE festival.

Creative fire inextinguished      

The poetry festival, organised by the founder and its leader Armida Demarta in 1997, was the first literary event in the canton of Ticino.

Its participants and prize-winners throughout the years included such poets and celebrities of culture and arts like Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Bella Achmadulina, Giancarlo Majorino, Evgenij Solonovich, Antonella Anedda, Ida Travi, Sara Ferrari, Roger Perret, Valerij Dudarev, Alberto Nessi, Elsa Cross, Marcello Foa, Alberto Ruy-Sanchez, Giovanni Orelli, Diego Fusaro, Fabio Pusterla, Chandra Livia Candiani, Arminio Sciolli, Jean Olaniszyn, Davide Monopoli, Andrea Scanzi, Gaetano Curreri, Valerio Magrelli, Sergio Roic, Vladimir Luxuria, Francesca Vecchioni, Franco Buffoni, Gilberto Isella, Margherita Coldesina, Roberto Raineri-Seith, Mirko Aretini, Alessandro Manca, etc.

And now, the initiative, which has already become a multicultural phenomenon and is approaching its 25th anniversary, has gained global attention and praise. Marco Solari, President of Locarno Film Festival, emphasized this as well, acknowledging POESTATE’s value.

POESTATE usually takes place on the first days of June. This year, the plans for the 24th festival and many other events around the world were ruined by the global pandemic and quarantine, which took away the joy of meetings, communion and embraces, but could not extinguish the creative fire.

Titling the festival programme ‘Distant, but Close’, the organisers of the event decided to move it to the virtual space. Whatever that was supposed to be presented by representatives from various countries in Lugano, had to be transformed into video material in a very short time. The organisers arranged all this material into a three-day programme, which will be available to viewers all around the globe, connected using various devices.

Virtual journey of poetry: from Lugano to Colombia

‘POESTATE is a cultural project, encompassing classics and avant-garde, visions and insights of poets, writers, musicians, journalists and artists with readings, reciting, lectures, discussions, exhibitions, performances and meetings. This year’s edition of the festival will be special, taking place in alternative space.’ says Armida Demarta, founder and artistic director of the festival, emphasizing that this entire virtual product, made with the greatest dedication, care and love, is delivered to the people all around the globe.

This is a joint literary event and creation, a mosaic, put together piece by piece from various traditions, experiences, sensations with love and belief in the power of creation. It invites to take a virtual three-day journey from Lugano, taking you through Ticino and other cantons of Switzerland, several Italian cities, then taking a turn to Taiwan and a stop in Lithuania to remember one of the most famous European poets – Kristijonas Donelaitis, whose 240th death anniversary is commemorated this year, and then – to Colombia to pay our respects to the country, which gave the world Gabriel García Márquez – an immensely talented writer and Nobel Prize winner.

This year Colombia has been invited to POESTATE as a guest of honour and its programme is dedicated to the memory of the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, whose works will leave an indelible mark in the history of literature.

One of the major contributors to Europe’s introduction to and fondness of the then not as famous Latin American writers Gabriel García Márquez, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, Oktavio Paz and Julio Cortazar, is the Lithuanian cultural figure and former UNESCO ambassador Ugnė Karvelis.

This year’s POESTATE features the prominent Columbian poets Olga Elena Mattei and Romulo Gallega Prize winner William Ospin.

POESTATE remains faithful to its historical formula of a variety of participants – both local and foreign creators. It is quite usual for the literary variety to range from the famous and acknowledged authors to beginner poets and rising stars, from classics to avant-garde, from traditional to experimental performances. All this has been shaping the impressive history of the event since 1997.

This virtual edition is the first experimental attempt to ensure the continuity of the event. The dynamic format enables us to switch from the slow stage time to the dynamic timing of the virtual stage, followed on the internet from any part of the world. Just like the live event, the three-part programme will continue for three days. On 4, 5 and 6 June, 6 p.m., the event will be broadcasted live on Ticinonline platforms at www.poestate.ch; www.piazzaticino.ch; facebook.com/ticinonline.ch; youtube.com/ticinonline, and when the event is over, the video material will be available on Youtube. The programme, prepared by the organisers, will also introduce all this year’s participants, curators and a part of the history of the event.

Lithuanian team introduces The Seasons project

The Lithuanian creative team is curated by Arminio Sciolli, head of Leonardo da Vinci il Rivellino art gallery and a POESTATE 2017 prize winner. Arminio Sciolli and il Rivellino gallery under his lead have been conducting a noble mission of bringing various nations together through collaboration in culture and art. He’s been attentively taking care to promote the Lithuanian history, culture and art in Switzerland, Italy and other countries and build mutual cultural exchange relations. Arminio sincerely supports Lithuanian artist initiatives and helps to see their projects come true.

At POESTATE, Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė, together with the artist Irma Leščinskaitė, introduce The Seasons project, telling the story of the ancient Lithuanians and Prussians.

This art project is dedicated to the classic writer Kristijonas Donelaitis, the father of Lithuanian literature and one of the most unique 18th c. European poets.

The poem The Seasons is Donelaitis’ lifetime’s work, published in many languages of the world and included into UNESCO’s library of literary treasures among Homer’s and Virgil’s epic literature.

This year marks 240 years since Kristijonas Donelaitis’ death.

The Seasons cycle of paintings by Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė signifies that the work of the father of the Lithuanian literature, stands on the strong foundation of the Baltic culture and writings, established during the first century of our millennium.

The Donelaitis of the abstract artist Irma Leščinskaitė is looking at the audience from miniature in abstraction.

The poem, read under the vaults of the Old Klaipėda Castle Museum, which marks the beginning of the history of the city of Klaipėda in 1252, also creates a virtual connection between the past and the present. Fusing into the joint rhythm of the hearts of POESTATE participants – creating and giving, listening and accepting – it brings together the distant and the close, inviting them to get together for the common goal of preserving the humanity and the Earth, creating the future by connecting minds and hearts.

99 Interpreting One Hundred Years of Solitude  

Titled 99, the book by the artist Nubia Soledad Garcia Hernandez, is interpreting One Hunded Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

As its name says, the book features 99 ink and paper drawings on A5 format, which make a clear tribute to the masterpiece of Gabriel García Márquez, the great Colombian writer and Nobel Prize in Literature winner, and his fantastic realism.

99 as such is already an independent pictorial work, with a conceptual influence from the literary work One Hundred Years of Solitude and a pictorial influence from the Goya, the Fantastic from Escher and the Compositive from Gorey. Each of the drawings of this picture collection is predominated by the strength of the Line as the predominant aesthetic element, with expressionism in its forms and composition that frame the fantasy of the literary work.

Yet it is not only fantastic, but also has its own interpretations, which are more direct in form until they are taken to conceptual formalism. Although, the purpose of 99 is not to tell the story, because that has already been done by the book with perfect mastery Gabriel García Márquez.

Dr. Nubia Soledad Garcia Hernandez (1966, Colombia), PhD in artistic drawing from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, has a career of more than thirty years in fine arts. She currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

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