Viva Europa showcases Europe’s culture, music, sports, and arts

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ARTS AND culture know no boundaries: political, social, or otherwise. In the efforts to link our shared literature and culture, and also our highlight differences, the European Union bookmarks the months of May and June for its “Viva Europa” celebration, a showcase of European dance, film, literature, music, sports, and visual arts for the Filipino audience.

“The branding ‘Viva Europa’ signifies the historic ties of the Philippines with the EU and to highlight the importance of the Philippines as a cultural partner of the European Union,” said European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen in his speech at the event’s launch.

The goal of the festivities is to “strengthen people-to-people links.”

“The Philippines has 7,107 islands — it is not like you have more than 7,000 communities that are completely distinct and in isolation. We are all affected by each other. In Europe, we learn about Philippine culture because there are 800,000 Filipinos in Europe. Of course, we learn from them and take some of their best cultures and take them forward. I think that’s the way it should be,” he added.

The Embassies of Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Spain, and Alliance Francaise de Manille, Goethe Institut, and EUNIC each have their own activities scheduled for the festival.

Here are some of the activities:

German Photography: An exhibit of works by Barbara Klemm, one of Germany’s most distinguished photographers, Seeing Light and Darkness through Barbara Klemm, will go on view starting June 21 at the Ninoy Aquino Library and Resource Center and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila. The exhibit will showcase photographs taken before and after the unification of East and West Germany. Following the exhibit opening at each venues, there will be a lecture called “Documentary Photography in Germany” by Dr. Ursula Zeller, the show’s curator.

Children’s Festival: Children take center stage in this year’s Lakbayin Natin ang EU on May 12 at the Museong Pambata. Underprivileged children will participate in the activity and learn more about connections, and the EU’s culture, literature, and art. The celebration will include cultural presentations, games, arts activities, and country displays from the participating EU members.

French Film Festival: While there are no details yet on which films will be included, it has been announced that the annual French film festival will start on June 6, and will make stops in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

Spanish Flamenco show: Instituto de Cervantes de Manila presents Delicatessen, described as a sophisticated and delicate flamenco dance paired with musical creations, and a marriage of Spanish’ flamenco and Mindanaoan dances. The performance, headlined by the Anabel Veloso dance company, will be held on May 25.

• Music: The annual FEUropa, a nationwide choir competition, will mark its 10th anniversary with a concert at Far Eastern University in Manila on May 26 and 27. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman