From 14 to 19 December at the Russian Centres of Science and Culture in New Delhi and Trivandrum, as well as on partner venues of the RCSCs was held the Festival of Russian language and traditional Russian culture titled “Touch the soul of Russia”, completing the series of festive and solemn events marking the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation in India.
The Festival was organized by the International Charity Foundation “Dialogue of Cultures – United World” jointly with the representative office of the “Rossotrudnichestvo” Federal agency with the support the “Russkiy mir” Foundation.
Opening the official part of the event in the RCSC in Delhi, that became the culmination of the celebrations, the head of the Russian delegation, Vice President of “Dialogue of Cultures – United World” Foundation Mrs Elena Korshunova announced congratulatory messages received by the participants and guests of the Festival by the Russian Minister of Culture Mr Vladimir Medinskiy, Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Mr Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Committee on Culture of the State Duma Mr Stanislav Govorukhin, Chairman of the Education Committee of the State Duma, Chairman of the Board of the “Russkiy mir” Foundation Mr Vyacheslav Nikonov.
The event was attended by such honored guests as Director of the Delhi International Arts Festival Mrs Pratibha Prahlad, National Secretary, All India Congress Committee Major Dalbir Singh, Principal, Delhi College of Art Prof. S.N. Lahiri, Senior Counselor of the Russian Embassy Mr Sergey Karmalito. Closing remarks were made by Director of the RCSC in New Delhi Mr Fedor Rozovskiy.
Indian public was offered a unique opportunity not only to witness the process of creating works of traditional Russian art, but also to try to make some with their own hands under the guidance of folk craftsmen – Ms Olga Volokitina (Romanovskaya clay toys), Mrs Olga Asafieva (Semyonovskaya nesting dolls, Khokhlomskaya painting), Mr Alexander Simakov (Bogorodskaya and Timonovskaya wooden toys) and Mr Uladzimir Chikvin (monumental wood carving).
In addition, the Festival guests had the opportunity to see a variety of Russian folk musical instruments: from traditional zhaleyka pipes, rattles, spoons and drums to classical accordion and bayan. Honored workers of culture of the Russian Federation Mr Leonid Reznikov and Mrs Tatiana Reznikova shared information on how to make the instruments, taught the basics of playing them, led Russian dances and played the “thread-needle” game, and, of course, presented a colorful program of folk songs and rhymes.
A delegation of professional folk artists of India, craftsmen from different parts of the country: Gujarat, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa visited the event as special guests.
The festival was attended by hundreds of students of Indian schools and the school of the Russian Embassy in India, students of Delhi College of Art (Delhi University), JNU, professional artists, members of the Forum of Indian photographers and artists (FIPA), numerous representatives of Indian educational, cultural and creative elite, Russian diplomats, alumni of Soviet and Russian universities, media representatives, etc.
At the end of the Festival the Russian craftsmen handed over to the RCSC in New Delhi a beautiful collection of traditional clay and wooden toys, including the special artwork by Mr Alexander Simakov titled “Tree of Friendship” – a stylized wooden music box, symbolizing the friendship between the peoples of Russia and India, their spiritual and cultural unity.