Day of Culture of Belarus at the SCO Headquarters

A Day of Culture of the Republic of Belarus took place at the SCO headquarters on 10 January 2017.

In his welcoming remarks, the SCO Secretary-General noted that the Day of Culture of the Republic of Belarus is a continuation of the traditions established during the anniversary year, when a comprehensive programme was started, entitled The SCO — Our Common Home. "Belarus is a picturesque country with a rich history and culture. The Belarusian people cherish their centuries-old national traditions, and draw inspiration from the highest achievements of global civilisation," Rashid Alimov said, and invited the guests to join the wonderful world of Belarusian culture.

Kiryl Rudy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to China, drew the guests' attention to the "symbolic opening of the Day of Culture of the Republic of Belarus at the SCO headquarters with a national day of carols, which symbolises the beginning of a new year, both solar and agricultural."

Ambassador Rudy ceremonially presented to the SCO Library a book by Alexander Alekseyev and Oleg Lukashevich, Spadchyna Belarusi, signed by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, and wished the SCO new achievements. The SCO Secretariat's Art Fund received a painting, Lightning Storm in May, by a young Belarusian artist Anton Vyrvo. According to Ambassador Rudy, "the painting provides a visual answer to the question of why Belarus is referred to as a "blue-eyed" country: there are over 10,000 lakes with a total area of about 2,000 square kilometres, and more than 20,000 rivers and streams in Belarus."

The Day of Culture programme offered a variety of events. A folk group of the Kupalіnka Belarusian State Philharmonic Society demonstrated the beauty of Belarusian dances and soulful songs.

The visitors showed particular interest in an exhibition, entitled Belarus and Belarusians. According to Oleg Ryzhkov, Director of the National History Museum of the Republic of Belarus, "the exhibition portrays, in broad strokes, the history and culture of Belarus, shows the processes of formation and development of the Belarusian nation and state; reflects the specificities of historical development of spiritual, material and cultural processes in their interrelation with world history and culture; and introduces the world community to the historical and cultural heritage of Belarus."

Renowned Belarusian artist Marina Elyashevich presented her Guohua-style paintings, which reflect the friendly relations between Belarus and China. Her works show exquisite female figures full of charming beauty and splendour, and convey a living link to the past and the cultural traditions of Belarus, which, for centuries, absorbed the best ideas coming in along the Silk Route.

As part of the Day of Belarusian Culture, the guests had an opportunity to taste delicious Belarusian food, such as the well-known potato pancakes with cranberry sauce, Belarusian casserole, pickles, traditional Naroch bread and Belarusian juices.

The Day of Belarusian Culture was organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in China and is part of a series of events within the SCO — Our Common Home programme.

The Day of Culture was attended by high-ranking representatives of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and other departments, ambassadors and diplomats of the embassies of the SCO member states, observer states and dialogue partners, Latvia and Ukraine, as well as figures of culture and art, and media representatives accredited in Beijing.

The origins of the Kupalinka folk group date back to 1966, when it started as a female vocal quartet poetically named after the popular Belarusian folk song Kupalinka. People's Artist of the USSR Gennady Tsitovich is the founder and the spiritual father of this group. In 1986, Kupalinka's artistic director, People's Artist of the Republic of Belarus Yelena Telkova, in an attempt to break new ground in the group's creative activities, gave Kupalinka a makeover, switching to a freer form of performance, and combining mixed singing with instrumental accompaniment. Today, Kupalinka is popular both at home and abroad. The group's repertoire includes folk songs and dances from all regions of Belarus.

The Belarus and Belarusians exhibition consists of 10 mobile collapsible structures that host high-quality themed images, photos, objects, documents and short explanatory notes in Belarusian and English. Collapsible stands are made of an aluminum frame and a plastic front. Each stand measures 180cm x 80cm x 40cm, and weighs about 18 kg. The content is divided into two themes. One is dedicated to the history of Belarus, and the other to its cultural heritage.

More than forty personal exhibitions by Marina Elyashevich took place in Belarus and China with great success, under the motto The Magic of the Oriental Brush. All of them were dedicated to Belarusian and Chinese historical and contemporary figures, and depicts beautiful images of our reality. Marina Elyashevich has managed to create a style all her own, which combines techniques and methods of portraying nature and people in a delicate lyrical form at the intersection of Eastern and European cultures.
In 2009, the Republic of Belarus was granted the status of SCO dialogue partner, and since 2015, has enjoyed SCO observer status.