The Start of the Lithuanian national Day
on EXPO 2020 Dubai Stage of nations
A colorful parade, marching towards the impressive Al Wasl building, featuring the flags of Lithuania and the United Arab Emirates, and a sea of small Lithuanian flags in people’s hands – this was the beginning of the Lithuanian national Day at EXPO 2020 Dubai on 22 October 2021. The national, an Arab daily newspaper, wrote that the EXPO grounds were flooded by a wave of colors yellow, green and red.
That wave came to the Al Wasl dome and respectfully stood still at the Stage of Nations, watching the flags of UAE and Lithuania rising on the flagpoles, surrounded by chords of the countries’ national anthems.
Ingrida Šimonytė, Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, opened the Lithuanian National Day by delivering a speech, emphasizing that as the world keeps facing various challenges, ranging from climate change to economic crises and pandemics, sustainable solutions can be found only by working together.
‘EXPO 2020 in Dubai provides us with a global platform, which promotes the exchange of ideas, new partnerships and finding innovative solutions for global challenges. And we are here to strengthen and expand our partnerships and to showcase innovative and cutting-edge solutions to our global problems.’ said Šimonytė. She invited to visit the Lithuanian pavilion, which builds on the concept of Open for Co-creation (Lithuania Co-create), outlined in the strategy for introducing Lithuania abroad.
The aim is to introduce Lithuania as a modern and innovative country that is open for cooperation, highlighting the potential of economic and global solutions that would transform people’s lives not only in Lithuania, but the entire world. The pavilion introduces technology and solutions for life sciences, lasers, renewable energy, circular economy and other cuttingedge fields, developed by Lithuanian scientists.
“I am honored to take part at the Lithuanian National Day celebration and congratulate you all,” said H. E. Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence UAE and Commissioner General of EXPO 2020 Dubai, during his greeting speech.
H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visiting the Lithuanian pavilion as a sign of special attention and respect to Lithuania and its leadership, was an unexpected and pleasant surprise for the Lithuanian delegation.
The Lithuanian Prime Minister also met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, other high officials, and opened the Lithuanian-UAE Business Forum.
“We see cooperation opportunities in politics, economy, science, culture and tourism. I have no doubts that direct flights between Lithuania and UAE would strengthen the development of our economic ties and Lithuanian exports.” said I. Šimonytė.
The meetings involved discussing relevant issues of regional safety, the situation in Afghanistan, and UAE’s relations with Israel.
“Most of our safety challenges – from the pandemic to terrorism and military aggression – require global solutions, based on international law.” spoke I. Šimonytė.
The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of bilateral agreements for further development of relationships, mentioning negotiations regarding investment promotion and protection, mutual assistance in criminal cases, extradition and transfer of sentenced persons.
Meetings also included discussions on the hybrid attack against Lithuania and the European Union, organised by the Minsk regime.
OPEN FOR CO-CREATION
“Lithuania Co-create” – this is the slogan that Lithuania uses to introduce itself to the world at EXPO 2020 Dubai. Lithuanian pavilion is an original wooden building (designed by MB Baukas architects Edita Bružikaitė, Mantas Čekaitis and Mindaugas Bučas, wooden structures delivered by UAB Jūrės Medis), featuring shutters with traditional Lithuanian ornaments and solar panels (Solitek, BOD Group) on the roof, established on a plot of 1,000 sq. m in the Sustainability district between Sweden and Slovenia Pavilions.
Modern, innovative, creative and open for cooperation – that’s how we want our country to be seen and introduced to the world, says Romas Jankauskas, Commissioner General of the Lithuanian Pavilion.
The team of the pavilion also managed to surprise the visitors by offering them to take a look at the exhibit of the smallest precise copy of the highest skyscraper in the world – Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. This precision work of the Lithuanian laser professionals (UAB Femtika) is truly an eye-catcher, constantly surrounded by large groups of people. One of the pavilion guides said that as she spoke about the exhibit, she noticed that one middle-aged visitor was particularly attentive. When she finished talking, he started sharing a story of his own. It turned out that this man, a visitor from a foreign state, was an engineer, who worked on the construction of Burj Khalifa.
The artist Remigijus Kriukas, designer of the fifteen goldclad glass flowers, featured at the Lithuanian pavilion, could share a lot too.
The title of The Desert Flowers, an arrangement of glass flowers of various sizes and weight, sounds natural for an event, taking place on an endless desert. However, Kriukas claims that the point of his work was to introduce namely the flowers of the Lithuanian desert. ‘I wanted to say that we also have our own desert – Neringa and its unique flora – the legendary natural wonder, created by nature. This is the subtext of my exposition.’ says the author.
Kazimieras Mizgiris and his wife Virginija, founders of amber galleries and a museum in Nida and Vilnius, could tell numerous stories about Neringa that once was rich not only with desert flowers, but also green with amber trees, the resin of which was transformed into the Lithuanian gold – amber – in millions of years. A small share of these treasures is also exhibited at the Lithuanian pavilion.
Arab nations are proud of their literary history and respect the heritage of Abu Al Tayyib Ahmad ibn Al Husayn Al Mutanabbi, one of the most prominent poets, who wrote in Arab language back in the 10th c. His immortal lines ‘if you ventured in pursuit of glory, don’t be satisfied with less than the stars’ keep inspiring developers of technology in the 21st century. Namely these lines of the Arab poet Al Mutanabbi were chosen by the NASA US Space Agency to congratulate the team of the UAE Mars Mission, when their Hope probe successfully entered the orbit of the Red Planet. The UAE is the first Arab country and the fifth country in the world to reach Mars.
Lithuania has its own legendary poet Kristijonas Donelaitis – the pioneer of the Lithuanian poetry and one of the most unique 18th c. European poets and a European literary classic. The poem The Seasons is Donelaitis’ lifetime’s work, translated and published in 16 languages of the world, and included into UNESCO’s library of literary treasures among Homer’s and Virgil’s epic literature.
At the Lithuanian pavilion, the World EXPO was introduced to the literary heritage, converted into visual forms using innovative technology, for the first time. This exhibit, delivered by the National Library of Lithuania and its partners in several languages, has drawn enormous attention from the visitors, particularly young people.
At the pavilion’s souvenir shop, visitors can purchase amber and ceramics, and have a taste of the Lithuanian cold beetroot soup and beer at the local cafeteria, topped by printing a dessert – a one centimeter fruit cube, which, in terms of nutritional value, is an equivalent of an entire apple, pineapple or a handful of berries, using the special printer and the assortment of the freeze-dried food producer Super Garden (UAB Geld Baltic).
Upon leaving the pavilion, visitors can pick up a free copy of the special issue of JŪRA MOPE SEA magazine, published in English, Arab, Lithuanian, Chinese and Russian languages.
LITHUANIAN PERFORMERS CAME BACK FOR ENCORE ON THE GLOBAL STAGE
The performance of the Lithuanian artists received lots of interest and great success. During the official ceremony of the Lithuanian National Day, Vilnius City Opera soloists performed well-known classic arias, completed with the powerful notes of “Ūdrys Song” from Pilėnai opera by Vytautas Klova, followed by a storm of grand applause and cheering.
But that was only the beginning. The audiences were looking forward yet several more concerts in various parts of the fair. Later that night, thousands of people from all over the world, listened to the breathtaking three-part Gala concert, taking place on the EXPO’s largest – Jubilee – stage, featuring fantastic Lithuanian performers.
The first part consisted of virtuoso opera arias, performed by Vilnius City Opera (VCO) artists, conducted by Gintaras Rinkevičius, Conductor of the Lithuanian State Symphonic Orchestra (LSSO). The second part featured e-Carmen electronic opera, directed by Dalia Ibelhauptaitė, adapted especially for the stage in Dubai. While the third part featured the Ten Walls Symphony, composed by the world-known music producer Marijus Adomaitis (Ten Walls).
The Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, who watched the entire concert with the Lithuanian delegation, shared her impressions on Twitter: “Today’s performance of Vilnius City Opera together with masters of electronic music at EXPO 2020 is the best representation of contemporary Lithuanian culture – dynamic, full of experimental and collaborative projects.”
Impressive pictures from the show, where the last part of Adomaitis (Ten Walls) Symphony not only followed by a grand applause, but also a demand for an encore, were also shared on Facebook page of the Lithuanian Government.
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD CAN COMMUNICATE IN THE LANGUAGE OF CULTURE AND ART
Lithuania always offers very high-level artistic programming at the world Expos. The world admired Lietuva State Song and Dance Ensemble (EXPO 2010, Shanghai, China), Klaipėda University DSC Žuvėdra, founded by Skaistutė and Romualdas Idzelevičai (EXPO 2012, Yeosu, South Korea), Bel Canto Mixed Choir from Vilnius Teachers’ House, led by Artūras Dambrauskas, Vilnius City Municipality St Christopher Orchestra, led by Donatas Katkus (EXPO 2015, Milano, Italy), NICO New Ideas Chamber Orchestra, led by Gediminas Gelgotas (EXPO 2017, Astana, Kazakhstan) and many other highly-skilled performers.
VCO has been brought to represent Lithuania at EXPO 2020 Dubai by their experiments with electronic opera, which helped to win the national competition to be included into the European day line-up.
“I am most proud of the fact that two of our electronic pieces have been selected for the European Union Honour Day at EXPO 2020. We will be the only country to be featured more than once. The dance performance, based on the extract of our eCarmen has been choreographed by a troupe from Italy, putting this cooperation on a global level.” shared Ibelhauptaitė before the show, adding that: “The 100th anniversary of professionalopera theatre in Lithuania, celebrated this year, became an excellent point of reference in exploring the past and future of the genre. VCO and LSSO kept pushing the bar even higher in the past 10 years, aiming for new forms, when the classical music is transformed into alternative. Besides, let’s face it, having such a large number of internationally-acknowledged opera celebrities is a huge achievement for such a small country as ours. A miracle. Thus, taking part at the event in Dubai became an opportunity to explore the path of opera in our country and demonstrate the variety that can be created by a single joint team, such as the VCO and LSSO, as well as the number of achievements to be gained in cooperation, and how one musical piece could be divided into many others, even result in new forms of art.”
Soloists Ieva Prudnikovaitė and Lina Dambrauskaitė took part at the show of the European Union Honour Day at EXPO 2020, opened by a welcoming speech, delivered by the Vice-President of the European Parliament, who highlighted the importance of culture and solidarity under the difficult times of the pandemic.
SCIENCE, CULTURE AND ART TO UNITE AND LIBERATE THE MIND
The history of the World Expos goes back for almost two centuries. This year marks the 170th anniversary since the very first world fair, which took part in London during the reign of Queen Victoria.
For a long time, since the first editions of the event, the fairs mostly focused on technological innovations and achievements, promoting industrial progress. Word Expos have been always associated with visions of the future and nations cooperating to build it.
As the humanity entered the 21st century, organisers of the world fair started bringing more attention to culture and art. The perception of the world is changing, we see science, culture and art as factors that unite people and free their minds, promoting innovations, awareness and creativity. The theme of EXPO Dubai ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ opened unlimited opportunities for the countries to demonstrate their creativity, which is now taking part on EXPO 2020 grounds with great intensity and will continue until 31 March 2022.
Information from JŪRA MOPE SEA.