Organisers thank Oxford for hosting Ukrainian art and music festival

Photograph of damage caused by war in Ukraine on display in Oxford
A picture by documentary photographer Oleksandr Glyadyelov on display in Oxford as part of the festival Credit: Oleksandr Glyadyelov

Oxford is showcasing some of Ukraine's rich cultural heritage with a four-day arts festival.

The city has been chosen to host the Bouquet Kyiv Stage festival, the first time the annual event has been held outside its home country.

Running until 1 October, the event will feature film screenings, photography, music performances and public talks in venues across the city.

Multiple classical and choral concerts will take place, including performances by the Kyiv Chamber Choir and some of Ukraine's most celebrated pianists.

A pianist rehearses ahead of a concert at the Bouquet Kyiv Stage Festival

Other highlights include 'War', an exhibition of pictures by renowned Ukrainian documentary photographer Oleksandr Glyadyelov, showing the devastation wreaked by the conflict in his home country since January 2022.

Pictures of the shocking destruction of places like Irpin, Bucha and Kyiv itself hang in the Cherwell College Art Gallery.

Photographic portraits of fighters from the Ukrainian Foreign Legion are also on display, including fighters from the UK.

Festival organiser Yevgeniy Utkin told ITV Meridian's Charlotte Briere-Edney the festival was a token of thanks for all the support shown by the British people since the war in Ukraine began.

Festival organiser says he is grateful for Britain's help in the war against Russia

Mr Utkin added: "We defend our culture. So that's why it's high time to make art projects.

"Our main defence tool is culture. It's not the Kalashnikov. That's why I think it's much more important to be focused on making something good, not destroying."

Tetyana Filevska, Creative Director of the Ukrainian Institute, said: "The combination of music, visual art and educational formats allows one to learn and experience Ukrainian culture in its entirety.

"The festival for the first time is taking place overseas, in Oxford, Great Britain — which especially emphasises the close cooperation between our two countries at this difficult time."

Ruslan Pavlyshyn, President of Oxford University Ukrainian Society said: “As a centre of knowledge and free speech, we believe Oxford is the ideal venue to celebrate our shared values of democracy and freedom”.

The festival will take place at various venues across Oxford including The Sheldonian Theatre, Christ Church Cathedral, Holywell Music Room (Wadham College), the Levine Building (Trinity College) and Oxford Town Hall.