On the 28th May 2016 the award ceremony for the participants and winners of children’s computer graphics and animation design competition “Palmyra: Breathing Life!” was held in the public forum of the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage. The contest was held in celebration of Syria Day and Yemen Day at the Hermitage.
“PALMYRA: BREATHING LIFE!”
Palmyra is a beautiful green oasis in the endless hot sands of the Syrian Desert. Two thousand years ago, at the beginning of the Common Era, it was one of the most beautiful and richest cities in the Middle East. In 2015, numerous monuments of the ancient city, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, were destroyed.
On the first floor of the Main Staff Building 24 photographs from the collection «Syria. Architectural masterpieces of the past» by Alexander Dymnikov, member of the Union of Photographers of Russia, were presented. The photographs, taken in 2009, show a more peaceful Syria, filled with cultural monuments which survived millennia and have been lost in recent years.
General Director of the State Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky, began the celebration. The best works of the contest, which was dedicated to the culture and history of Palmyra, were awarded prizes and certificates. Students in the age range of 7 to 16 years old who participated in the series of lectures and special session organized at the Hermitage dedicated to the history and art of Palmyra, presented their works on the themes such as «East meets West», «Two Queens», «Palmyra and Northern Palmyra», «Sad cases of destruction of cultural heritage in history», «Architecture of Palmyra», «History of the new opening of Palmyra», «Gods and beliefs», «Palmyra in art», and «Reconstruction of the life of the multinational population of Palmyra».
The contest winners are:
«Animation and Video»:
- Evgenii Dubenkov
- 1st place – Alisa Sinitsyn
- 2nd place – Ksenia Kondarschuk
- 3rd place – Veronika Ankudinova
- 1st place – Irina Kozlova
- 2nd place – Angelina Schemelina
- 3rd place – Ksenia Petrova
After the awarding of certificates, exciting workshops allowed children, their parents and teachers to experience the atmosphere of ancient Palmyra. In the masterclass «The gods of Palmyra» CME of the «School Centre» Irina V. Dyubanova introduced students to ancient traditions, according to which participants painted the tympanum of the Bel Temple, the entire sculpture, bas-reliefs and architectural details of the buildings in bright colours as well as learning about the composition of the Bel Temple.
Children also had the opportunity to play the computer game «Palmyra market» dedicated to Palmyra tariff duties stored in the Hermitage since 1903. Furthermore, they could make their own model of the Temple of Bel out of paper and they were allowed to take it home with them, as well as painting plaster statues of the lion goddess al-Lat; both of them are destroyed monuments in Palmyra. These gifts will long remind students about the fragility and value of the cultural heritage of mankind. The employees of the «School Centre» helped to conduct master classes.
The festival was attended by Waddah al-Jundi, co-chair of the Russian-Syrian Cooperative. He noted that the «Day of Syria», coincided with the celebration of St. Petersburg City Day. Once again this proves that it is not in vain that St. Petersburg is called the Northern Palmyra. Mr. al-Jundi said «he hoped that the holding of “Syria Day” at the Hermitage will become an annual event and urged the two nations to cooperate».
The special atmosphere was created by the performance of the dance «Dedication to Palmyra» by participant of the contest Ksenia Petrova and the costumes of the inhabitants of Palmyra (Eastern, Greek, and Roman). They were made especially for this event by both the volunteers and the experienced master of theatrical costume designer, Irina Georgievna Etoev. The holiday program was led by Head of the Volunteer Service Mikhail Kozhukhovskiy, in the magnificent costume of King Odaenathus.
At the end of the event, on the floor of the Main Staff Building, participants of the competition were able to put together a giant puzzle with a map of Palmyra. They also managed to find all the main attractions of the city on the map, and to pick up images and descriptions for them. The final piece was the installation of the model of the Temple of Bel on the puzzle, Palmyra’s main temple.
Contests of computer graphics and animation for schoolchildren have been organised and conducted over 10 years by the Volunteer Service and in the cooperation with the Scientific and Methodological Department «School Centre» of the State Hermitage. Works of participants of the contest «Palmyra: Breathing life!» were presented at the international festival «Intermuseum» (in Moscow, 13 – 16 May 2016) and «Night of the Museums 2016» in the Hermitage’s Storage and Restoration Centre, «Staraya Derevnya».