This week, the Minister of Culture, Santi Vila, signed an agreement between the Catalan Government and the Smithsonian Institution for Catalonia to be the guest country at the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The agreement was reached on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. with the aim of exhibiting Catalonia’s popular traditions and its intangible cultural heritage in the American capital.
According to Vila, the Folklife Festival “is an extraordinary display of world cultures and Catalonia’s presence at the festival is an opportunity to put our strong cultural heritage on the map and build bridges with the United States in the political and economic fields”.
Through the Ministry of Culture, the Catalan Government intends to present the country’s cultural and popular heritage to American audiences while encouraging the understanding of Catalonia as a nation.
The Catalan contribution will be featured under the theme Catalonia: tradition and creation from the Mediterranean, and will incorporate the elements of “tradition, innovation and participation”. The 2018 exhibition will focus on the territory’s unique gastronomy, its festive heritage, Catalan craftwork, music, dance, traditions and visual art, which will all be presented to the public during the two weeks through performances, workshops, conferences and exhibitions.
The Minister also affirmed that Catalonia’s participation in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is largely due to the nation’s willingness “to project the values that synthesise the past, present and future of a society which have spearheaded the country in terms of creative freedom and through its Mediterranean nature”.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exposition of living cultural heritage annually produced outdoors on the National Mall of the United States in Washington, D.C., by the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
The Festival was inaugurated in 1967 and takes place for two weeks every summer. It is an educational presentation that features community-based cultural exemplars and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.