Funds provided by Landsvirkjun under its agreement with the Friendship Society have made it possible to invite the world-famous Polish mime Ireneusz Krosny to perform in Iceland. He will appear in the National Theatre on 29 and 30 September and on 1 October as part of a Polish Culture Festival held from 28 September to 1 October.
Landsvirkjun has recently stressed making a positive contribution to multiculturalism in Iceland. The company concluded a cooperation agreement with the Intercultural Centre at the beginning of the year and then supported the Centre's international festival in keeping with this agreement. In addition, Landsvirkjun set up an exhibition of artworks by newcomers to this country; it was entitled "Perspectives -- Iceland Through the Eyes of Immigrants" and was presented in Ljósifoss Power Station last summer. The Intercultural Centre will also hold a course this autumn on intercultural skills for Landsvirkjun personnel.
The organisers of the Polish Culture Festival describe the event as follows: "This will be the biggest Polish cultural festival ever to take place in Iceland. A large number of Poles moved to Iceland at the beginning of the 1990s in search of better-paying jobs. Now they make up by far the largest group of immigrants to this country. Most of them live outside the capital area and work in the fish-processing or construction industries or in other jobs which require little specialised training. The Festival is intended to highlight the group's cultural background, in the hope that Icelanders will then see Poland and its history in a new light. We consider cultural exchange to be the best way of encouraging understanding and respect among nations."
One of the festival's aims is to reach as broad a public as possible, and it will therefore include participation by Polish artists with an international reputation. Some examples include Krzysztof Penderecki, who will direct the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and Olga Tokarczuk, who will take part in a literary evening. Also, Polish films will be shown, photographs by Chris Niedenthal will be exhibited, there will be a seminar on Poland, and a concert will be held in memory of the musician Szymon Kuran, who died last year.
The chief festival organisers are Anna Wojtynska and Marta Macuga, whose efforts have ensured, through cooperation with the Icelandic/Polish Friendship Society, that the festival will become a reality after two years of preparation. This undertaking has been successfully pursued with the help and goodwill of several institutions and enterprises, including Landsvirkjun.
Full information on the Culture Festival is accessible on the Internet under www.polska.is.
Þorsteinn Hilmarsson, Anna Wojtynska, and Marta Macuga upon signing the agreement