Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) on Wednesday presented the 2018 Culture Award of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Estonian street artist Edward von Lõngus for his digital street art project "(R)estart Reality."
Handing over the award to Andra Orn, the artist's representative from Noar OÜ, at a ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Mikser emphasised the important role that cultural diplomacy plays in representing Estonia, according to a ministry press release.
"Culture provides an invaluable opportunity to showcase your country and to build mutual understanding," the minister said. "At the same time, given the deluge of information we're faced with these days, it's becoming harder and harder to earn people's attention, and in order to stand out you have to be bold and creative. Edward von Lõngus' street art, which bridges Estonia's history and its image as an e-nation and seeks to make sense of the country today, is a perfect example of the special nature of our cultural diplomacy and its wealth of ideas. There's no doubt that von Lõngus' work has helped put Estonia on the map for a much broader audience — one that you perhaps don't encounter all that often in concert halls and theatres."
Accepting the award, Ms Orn read a statement by von Lõngus. Referring to Bernt Notke's "Danse Macabre, a medieval painting preserved in Tallinn's St. Nicholas' Church, von Lõngus noted that in addition to acting out the adventures of Estonians of 100 years ago in Europe, a second motif emerged in the project — a contemporary danse macabre.
"The reason why the European project was called '(R)estart Reality' was that our reality desperately needs to restart," von Lõngus said in his statement. "My work is driven by the hope of pressing 'restart' on as many minds as possible in order to create a new and better world."
The "(R)estart Reality" tour, which took place as part of Estonia's presidency of the European Union and the cultural programme of Estonia's centennial celebrations, saw life-sized painted figures appear on walls in cities throughout Europe who told their stories via digital devices. The tour spanned 11 capitals: Brussels, Rome, Berlin, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Paris, London, Vilnius, Riga, Vienna and Budapest.
Previous recipients of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Culture Award include Mati Talvik, Renita Timak and Indrek Kangur, producers of ERR's "Ajavaod" series, Arvo Pärt, Ewert and the Two Dragons, Kalle Kasemaa, Kristiina Ehin, the team behind the film "Tangerines," and Anne Erm.
Editor: Aili Vahtla