During the past decades, the works of Sienkiewicz, Žeromski, Dąbrowska and Milośći have been introduced to Estonian readers through the translations of Hendrik Lindepuu, Aleksander Kurtna and Ruth Karemäe. Polish readers would be familiar with the works of Estonians Tammsaare, Kross, Valton and Niit.
In 1997, the Estonian National Library in co-operation with the Polish National Library and the Polish Embassy opened an exhibition of Polish literature consisting of more than 100 books.
Translator Ruth Karemäe was chosen in the autumn of 2002 along with 16 people to receive a special diploma from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland for helping introduce Poland to the world.
Estonian theatre has traditionally been successful at the Contact Festival of Toruń. The 1992 Grand Prix was awarded to “The Punjaba Pot Works of Epp Pillapardi” by Priit Pedajas. Estonian theatres have often staged plays by such writers as Grotowski, Mrożek, Roszewicz, Andrzejewski and Schaeffer.
Estonian graphic art has achieved good results at the Krakow International Graphic Art Triennial.
For decades, the followers of the avant-garde have esteemed composer Krysztof Penderecki. A great event in 1999 was the performance of Penderecki’ s oratorio “The Seven Gates of Jerusalem” by Polish soloists and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, with the maestro himself participating in the event.
A place in the international classical music calendar has been made for the International Chopin Music Competition for Young Pianists held in Narva and Kohtla-Järve.
It was in Poland that world-famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt won his first international prize at the beginning of the 1960s at the Warsaw Autumn competition. Throughout the years, many Estonian musicians have received advanced training in the Chopin Academy in Poland.
Estonian pop singers such as Jaak Joala and Anne Veski have given successful performances at the legendary Sopot Festivals in Poland.
Estonian films have also competed and won prizes at Polish film festivals. For example, Ülo Pikkov’s film “Bermuda” won “the Silver Dinosaur” at the international film-festival “Etiuda ’98” in Krakow. In 1997, Valentin Kuik’s documentary film “Flight” won the Grand Prix at the International “At Home” Ethnic Television Festival. The films “The Hotel of the Perished Alpinist”, “Navigator Pirx” and “The Curse of the Valley of Snakes” made through Estonian-Polish co-operation became box-office hits in Estonia and Poland.
The Co-operation Agreement in the Field of Culture extended in January 2000 is meant to tighten the ties between Estonia and Poland in the cultural sphere. Estonian and Polish cultural contacts can also be viewed in the context of the cultural co-operation programme of the Baltic Sea States “ARS Baltica”, where a number of co-operative projects including Polish and Estonian artists and performers have been carried out.
From April to November 2002, the Baltic Culture Centre located in Gdansk organized a project “New Estonia 2002” to promote Estonian culture. Within the framework of this project: a hundred Estonian cultural figures visited Poland. A grandiose exhibition of modern art was arranged, where Erki Otsman and Hortus Musicus gave concerts, and both children and adult book writers made sightseeing trips in Poland. The press positively reviewed the project. The Estonian Embassy gave support to the organizers.
Events that has been organised at the initiative of the Estonian Embassy in Poland
In November 1999, the Estonian Embassy in Poland in co-operation with the Warsaw Centre of Culture organised Estonian Days, during which the photo exhibition “The Colours of Estonian Islands” was shown, a piano concert took place presenting the works of Erkki-Sven Tüür, Estonian poet Aarne Puu read his poems and the films of Mark Soosaar “The Kihnu Woman” and “Miss Saaremaa” were shown.
In March 2000, the Estonian Embassy with help from the Estonian History Museum organised a photo exhibition about the history of Estonia in the History Museum of Warsaw. In May, the exhibition “The Maps of Livonia” took place in Gdańsk Town Hall. The exhibition was realized thanks to the help of Estonians living in Gdańsk. In June 2000, the exhibition was also shown in the city archives of Warsaw.
In November, the Estonian Embassy organised a weeklong presentation of Estonian films in co-operation with the Polish Film Committee and Film Polski. During the film week, the films “Georgica”, “The Highway Crossing”, “An Affair of Honour”, “All my Lenins” and “Dear Mister Moon” were shown.
In March 2001, an ethnographic photo exhibition of the Estonian island of Kihnu took place in Poland, which was organised in concert by the Estonian Embassy and the Estonian society Pro Estonia. The authors of the photos were Radosław Surowiec and Rafał Kołaciński, ethnographers from Warsaw University.
In June 2001, the presentation of the book “From Versailles to Westerplatten: Estonian-Polish Relations Between the Two World Wars” by Prof. Raimo Pullat, the distinguished researcher of Estonian-Polish relations, took place in Warsaw. The Estonian translation of the Polish national epic “Pan Tadeusz” was also introduced. In March 2003, Raimo Pullat’s book dedicated to Estonian-Polish bilateral relations “From Versailles to Westerplatten” was released in Polish in Warsaw and Krakow.
In January 2004, the Estonian Embassy along with the editor’s office of the Polish literature magazine “Dekada Literacka” released a special issue dedicated to Estonia. In February 2004, the Embassy in co-operation with the Wielkopolskie province organised an exhibition of Arvo Iho photographs along with an exhibition of Estonian bank notes in Poznan.
Source: Estonian Embassy in Warsaw