This year the Shevchenko Prize Committee received some 60 works. Eleven authors made it to the third, final round – when one could expect Ukraine’s most prestigious official award in the creative domain. The secret ballot left five contenders.
Myroslav DOCHYNETS was chosen for his books Krynychar. Diiariiush naibahatshoho cholovika Mukachivskoi dominii and Horianyn. Vody Hospodnikh rusel. His is a new kind of philosophy, creative energy, in-depth approach, even a new vocabulary. He combats existentialism because it leads nowhere. His works assert man’s invincible spirit. Critics agree that Dochynets’ heroes are what contemporary Ukrainian literature badly needs, considering its predominant trend of tearful complaints about the glorious past and current disillusioning realities. People who grow up in the mountains become strong enough to resist the elements, face today’s complicated challenges, and remain true to themselves against the backdrop of spiritual impoverishment and national nihilism.
“Reading Krynychar… is like taking vitamins for the brain and soul…This book is about Dignity, Faith, Hope, and Charity,” says Ihor Kalynets, a noted Ukrainian ex-dissident writer, adding that it is a textbook that shows one how to achieve success and remain true to himself when “star-struck,” and become aware of one’s national identity.
Iryna HAIUK was chosen for her book Iliustrovana entsyklopedia virmenskoi kultury. This illustrated encyclopedia of Armenian culture relies on data borrowed from 44 government-run museums and Ukrainian cities with cultural preserves reminiscent of advanced or historically tangible ethnic Armenian communities. The book contains 593 illustrations, including photos of museum exhibits in Kyiv, Kamianets-Podilsky, Lviv, Simferopol, Feodosia, etc. A great deal of work done to revive the ethnic Armenian heritage, considering that more than 90 percent of the pictures were taken of items kept in the museum vaults.
According to Dr. Liudmyla Fylypovych, the author deserves every praise because she made a synthetic analysis instead of description, and that she demonstrated the way the ethnic Armenian communities lived in various regions of Ukraine, how their culture evolved, pointing out their major fields of endeavor.
Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, staged by the Solovianenko National Opera and Ballet Theater of Donetsk. Conductor: Vasyl Vasylenko; stage director: Mara Kurotschka; choirmaster: Liudmyla Streltsova; stage designer: Vasyl Riabenky; lead singer: Tetiana Plekhanova.
Staging this opera was a unique joint Ukrainian-German cultural project in commemoration of Wagner’s 200th anniversary. The opera premiered on December 8 and 12, 2012, marking a major event in Ukraine’s cultural life (as previously reported by The Day). In Ukraine, this was the first rendition of Wagner’s masterpiece in German, using the original score.
Liubomyr MEDVID was chosen for his Reminiscences series of canvases. Works created by this painter convince all who care that the fine arts are carriers of images above all, that works of art vividly demonstrate the unity between things instant and eternal, and that art must be given weight in the modern world, so it can influence cognition, human values, and consciousness. He uses a unique combination of techniques, ranging from classic to modern ones. This determines his unmatched style. His attitude to our world is sarcastic, albeit with a touch of empathy that does not meet the untrained eye. Each of his works is a painful experiment on himself. In his pictures this world emerges transformed, with new heretofore unseen forms. Yet one can see that this world will continue to exist, even if in another endless series of unpredictable images. For the past five years, Medvid has been working on the large Reminiscences series, including the canvas The Prodigal Son, in which one can perceive space and time, also timelessness – nonexistence; the relationship between Man and Nature. All this dominated by lofty intentions that have a worldwide meaning.
Liudmyla MONASTYRSKA (lyric dramatic soprano) was chosen for her brilliant impersonations as a prima donna of the National Opera of Ukraine in 2009-13. She has performed in the box-office productions of La Scala, Covent Garden, and Metropolitan Opera. Foreign critics agree that Monastyrska is the best Aida these days. Each opera starring her has played to a full house.
This year the sum due the prize winner will be twice as much – 520 instead of 260 thousand hryvnias awarded previously, as stated by President Yanukovych when addressing a meeting of the Public Humanitarian Council and the Coordinating Council on Measures to Mark Taras Shevchenko’s Bicentennial. The president’s press service quotes him as saying: “In order to duly reward the winners of the Taras Shevchenko National Prize, I have instructed the Cabinet to increase the sum of the award by two times compared to last year.”