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Culture Day attracts controversy in Slovenia

Culture Day attracts controversy in Slovenia
Poet France Prešeren (Image: CityMagazine)

9 February 2016

A wide range of events were held last weekend to mark Culture Day in Slovenia, but the celebrations were not without controversy.

A focal point of the weekend was the Prešeren Prizes awards ceremony, in which a range of prizes and funding awards were given across a variety of disciplines, including sculpture, painting, dance and writing. Director of the awards ceremony Marko Bulc told Slovenian public broadcaster RTV that his ideas for staging of the ceremony had been censored by the Prešeren Fund, which gives out the Prešeren Prizes, and the Ministry of Culture.

According to Mr Bulc, a theatre director, the reason for the alleged “censorship” was fear of the ceremony being too critical and provocative. Mr Bulc says that he persevered with the project for the sake of the artists involved.

President of the Prešeren Fund Janez Bogata stated that Bulc’s ideas had not been interfered with, noting, however, that the Fund had had to ensure that Slovenia’s national symbols were used in line with the country’s laws. Mr Bogata added that certain other artistic expressions by Mr Bulc were better suited to experimental theatre or for the streets, rather than a state ceremony.

Culture Day also saw the statue of poet France Prešeren in the centre of Ljubljana wrapped in wire, as a sign of protest against the razor wire fence established on Slovenia’s Croatian border in November in response to the European migrant crisis. Several town signs across the country were also wrapped in wire.

Culture Day is celebrated annually in Slovenia, marking the anniversary of the death of France Prešeren (1800-1849), considered the nation’s greatest poet.

Source: The Slovenia Times