Cologne welcomed me with the warm breeze, contrasting rain and sunshine, but most importantly, with an uplifting feeling of a new start of an awakening spring season.
My city tour adventures started through the lively Breiten Strasse with its vibrant atmosphere of chilled Reggie tunes, and the local cafés and bakeries, beckoning me with the aroma of freshly baked pastries and neatly arranged breadbaskets.
Colourful decorations of the Hussel Chocolate artisan shop caught my eye.
Chocolate is the answer, I thought to myself! It has been always known as ‘food for soul’. The chocolate may not solve your problems, but, hey, an apple won’t solve them either…! 🙂
When entering the kingdom of Hussel Chocolate, I instantly knew, – ‘I don’t need to be nice anymore, as I can get the best sweets myself!’ 🙂
My favourite pick were the hazelnuts coated in the dark chocolate. Truly irresistible! Obviously, the pack of those hasn’t ever reached an initially intended recipient, as I have instantly opened the Pandora’s box of chocolate indulgence.
Spin forward: after catching few Sun rays by the Cologne Cathedral, I am at the piano bar of Excelsior Hotel sipping on a fresh mint tea with honey, while listening to the tunes of soulful piano jazz and planning my tour through the art galleries. I had a double luck: after the long conference the day before, it was the time to explore the best of this culturally rich city. And what a coincidence, – it was the opening day of Art Cologne (26-29 of April 2017)! Moreover, I was lucky to have a fine Art expert as my personal guide, who I happened to meet by chance on my way to Art Cologne.
Art Cologne is a contemporary art fair, where established international galleries like Ben Brown Fine Arts and White Cube from London, David Kordansky from LA, Pearl Lam from Hong Kong, and other global counterparts are joined by successful young gallery owners like Antoine Levi and Joseph Tang from Paris, Project Native Informant from London, Kai Matsumiya from NY and Teminkova & Kasela from Tallinn, my home Baltic region amongst others, overall showing works of around two thousand artists.
My personal top five selection of the international rising stars may not indicate the next Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons! Nevertheless, they would be serious contenders to replace the current artwork in my office and remind me of the short but sweet memories of my Cologne adventures.
by Diana Buraka
As a performer, I see no harm in making emotional decisions, but when it comes to serious matters such as Britain’s membership of the European Union, the arguments should be more pragmatic than those of voting for the finalists of Britain’s Got Talent or Strictly Come Dancing…
There is not doubt, that Britain’s got talent, but together with Europe, it will have much more talent to make this country proud of its achievements! For example, on the International Dance scene, Britain has for years been represented by the Belgian dancer, Joanna Leunis and the Polish dancer, Michael Malitowski. For several years, Michael and Joanna were championing this country as victors in the World Dance Championship. Those talented dancers from the countries of the Brussels Eurocrats and the Polish plumbers were dedicating their art and careers for the glory of Great Britain… If Britain wasn’t welcoming multicultural talent from all over Europe, it would have never remained at the top of the international Ballroom dance scene.
Talking about couple dancing, there are many parallels in the principle of teamwork, and long-term relationship building as a basis for successful cooperation.
The European Union is just like any other relationship, which is not perfect, but it can bring great rewards, if there is a will to engage and to make it prosper.
The proof, is my own success as a professional dancer. It took us many years to shape our dance partnership to become French Champions in Latin American dancing and reap the rewards of our successful partnership on the international dance scene representing France. If Britain remains in Europe, it can shape European cooperation and will carve its unique role within, striving for a successful future together!
by Diana Buraka
To understand the vague logic behind the will to leave Europe, I decided to get on to the streets of London and to talk to those, who believe they will be better off turning their backs on their neighbours, naïvely hoping to continue benefiting from the European single market in the same friendly spirit.
While the Remain campaign talks about the real economy, Nigel Farage is relentlessly repeating the same old broken record on immigration, playing on emotional strings, that have nothing to do with logic or common sense. Slamming the doors in the face of skilled and talented Europeans, who make this country thrive by working and paying their taxes, is not the way to handle the immigration issue.
Nick, 58, from Woodford, is a souvenir stall keeper in the most touristic part of central London. I stopped at his stall and asked him, if he sells T-shirts with an “I’M IN” slogan. After thanking an Italian tourist for buying a souvenir from his stall, Nick turned to me and said: ‘I hope we leave Europe and stop the immigrants coming to Britain’. Considering what he said from a logical point of view, if there is anyone, who should be genuinely hoping for Britain to remain in the EU, it should be a souvenir vendor like Nick, otherwise, who will buy his souvenirs if not the foreigners, who flood into London?
Nick grumbled, that there are not enough jobs for everyone in the UK, but I told him that in Switzerland, a country that is outside the EU, where I lived and worked almost a decade, I have witnessed louder anti-immigration voices, as Switzerland, like any other country with a high standard of living, attracts newcomers in their pursuit for a better future. So, leaving the EU is no guarantee of fewer immigrants.
Let’s pray, that talented Europeans will still wish to remain in Britain after London loses its crown as the most multicultural and cosmopolitan city in Europe. And also, let’s hope that stall vendors like Nick will still have enough tourists to buy his souvenirs…
In my pursuit for a logical reason to leave Europe, I spoke to Mike, 52, a black cab driver from Greenwich. I asked Mike, about his reasons to vote for Brexit. Mike expressed his worries about the job shortage for black cab drivers. ‘Isn’t it an inevitable result of globalization and technological progress?’, I thought…. But ironically, Mike did not even mention his true worry, which was competition from Uber, instead blaming the immigrants… Neither did he seem to be aware, that a big part of his own income comes from the foreigners who use his services.
Rounding off my discussions with the Brexit supporters that I spoke to, I was left with an impression, that the vote to Leave is so misleading, that even those directly dependent on the European clientele, are not aware of the negative impact on their own financial well-being! If the UK should leave Europe, it will be an impulsive mistake, that in the long run will benefit nobody!
by Diana Buraka
Britain’s leading role on the global cultural arena can only be reinforced if Britain remains part of Europe. To a large extent, Britain has carved out its leading role in the creative industry thanks to its cosmopolitan nature, attracting the best of European talents.
Creative people across the UK believe in Europe. As one of the international performers living in the UK and the French dance champion, I join the efforts of the big names like Danny Boyle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jude Law and Keira Knightley to support the Remain Vote.
Remaining in the EU means access to the £1.07 Billion Creative Europe funding scheme. It means, British artists and performers will continue to inspire and influence the rest of the continent with their creativity. It also means, that the UK, and particularly vibrant cultural cities like London, retain their appeal for the far-reaching European audiences for any West End play or musical.
Creativity has no borders, race nor nationality, instead, it endorses the free spirit, expressiveness and inspiration, that comes with an open-minded approach of people working together, applying freely for projects and grants across the EU and bringing together brilliant ideas and talents.
I am volunteering for the Remain campaign by the Baker Street polling station.
I believe, the outcome of this decision will affect all of us and
I encourage you to engage and support the ”BRITAIN STRONGER IN EUROPE” campaign!
Off to Zurich for the Rothschild Investors Summer Academy this Thursday. Next week exploring the latest on financial markets at the Fund Forum International 2013 in Monaco.