Culture should not become collateral damage of epidemic, says speaker

Ljubljana – Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič said in his Culture Day address, released on Monday, that culture and art “are not and should not be considered a privilege, but above all they should not become the collateral damage of the epidemic”. Everyone has an option to support artists, he added.

Slovenia is one of the few countries where a bank holiday celebrates culture, Zorčič noted, adding that the Slovenian language, traditions and culture were the cornerstones of the Slovenian identity.

“Almost 30 years ago we realised the hundred years-long dreams of our own country through indomitable will and pluck. These dreams were co-created by our intellectuals and cultural workers,” he said.

This year’s Culture Day events have mostly moved to the virtual realm, however artists’ messages still inspire energy, beauty and wisdom, reflect our reality and urge respect, inclusion and justice, the speaker said.

He described cultural workers and artists as visionaries “who paint a better version of the world and ourselves, guide us and give meaning to our lives”, warning that culture should not become the collateral damage of the epidemic.

Everyone has the opportunity to support artists by buying a book, theatre or concert ticket or by visiting museums, galleries and castles, he said, expressing hope the epidemiological situation will soon permit all cultural institutions and venues to reopen.

He also noted that cultural production had high added value with globalisation and related digitalisation raising numerous possibilities for promoting Slovenian culture abroad.

Zorčič believes Slovenia will be successful at promoting its culture and art during the country’s EU Council presidency in the second half of this year.