The 'High Art of Sport' international exhibition has been organised as part of the cultural programme of the 2nd European Games 2019 and is held within another large-scale project called 'European Games – European Art'.
The exhibition offers 15 showrooms. It starts with archive photos and film materials (more than 500 items) that illustrate the fascination of the Soviet culture with the fit body. Photos and film shots of competitions, USSR Spartakiads, athletes' parades, training as well as portraits of outstanding athletes of those years are the evidence of an era when the cult of a healthy and strong body was associated with the youth and strength of the country. It was the time when the mass interest in sports was part of the global education process called the formation of the "man of the future".
In addition to materials from the collection of the Belarusian State Archive of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings, the exhibition also presents works by contemporary authors from different countries. The exhibition features works of photographers and artists from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, UK, Germany, Georgia, Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia.
The Lithuanian Aqueous features underwater colour photos. Their author Rita Stankevičiūtė-Kazakevičienė managed to capture Lithuanian swimming champions at the moment of diving in, giving the spectators a different perspective on the sport. Belarusian photographer Vadim Kachan exhibits his works under the title ‘Entire Country is Our Stadium’ with 65 photos from the 1980s, and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation (Azerbaijan) has brought 21 sculptures that were on display during Baku 2015 European Games.
In his welcome address, Sergei Krishtapovich, Director of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, stressed the role of archive photographs in providing an insight into the sport of the Soviet period and demonstrating the beauty of sport and being fit. Krishtapovich expressed hope that the exposition would be a motivation for all future competitions.
Natalia Karchevskaya, Deputy Minister for Culture of Belarus, noted that the 2nd European Games 2019 would be not only important sport competitions, but also an event of cultural significance since the achievements of athletes are always transformed to works of art. Karchevskaya expressed confidence that the cultural programme would be as exciting as the sport competitions.
Khanlar Fatiyev, Azerbaijani MP, President of the Azerbaijan Swimming Federation, expressed hope that the tradition of holding exhibitions as part of the European Games will be continued by future host countries.
Olga Grigoryeva, Head of MEGOC Cultural Programme, noted that the Games would be a great opportunity for guests and residents of Minsk to discover the sports and culture of Belarus.
The opening ceremony was attended by many honoured guests: His Excellency Latif Seifaddin ogly Gandilov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to Belarus; Emin Mammadov, curator of the 'Together we are strong!' exhibition of Azerbaijani sports sculpture held as part of Baku 2015 and the advisor on art and culture to the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Heydar Aliyev Centre; and Mindaugas Gabrėnas, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Lithuania to Belarus.
The 'High Art of Sport' exhibition is another step on the road to the bright summer and our shared victories. We invite everyone to visit and explore the topic of sport in cultural, historical and social context. Special brochures, booklets and calendar of cultural events available at the Games official website will guide you through the cultural programme.
The exhibition will be open until 4 August 2019.