Art tips: from cultural capital Tartu to artistic carpets

Europe is bursting with cultural highlights, that’s why we share a number of art tips that take place in the spring. From the cultural capital Tartu, the tranquil Arvo Pärt Museum, the biennale in Malta to socially critical art in Carpetland. Critical Tapestries and inspiring book releases.  

Text: Angelique van Os

Overview Arvo Pärt Centre, Estland | Foto: Tõnu Tunnel / Arvo Pärt Centre

1. Arvo Pärt Centre, Tallin

About 35 kilometers from Estonian capital Tallin, hidden in the beautiful Laulasmaa forest, the Arvo Pärt Centre. Here silence, nature and music merge. In September 2021 I visited this sober and modern center where the presence of composer Arvo Pärt (1935) is strong.


Pärt has significantly changed the nature of how music is understood with his works. In 1976 he created his own unique musical language ortintinnabuli , with which he reached a broad international audience. His compositions still influence contemporary classical music and all kinds of other movements.   

Extensive archive

The center contains an extensive archive, where valuable information, documents, sketches and the original manuscripts of the great master are stored. The archive material also includes thousands of photos, all kinds of film and audio recordings, an extensive database and correspondence between Pärt and clients. There is a beautiful library and various quiet areas where you can study, listen and work. A valuable place for musicians, composers and musicologists, but certainly also for enthusiasts and curious travelers.

Musical encounters

Above all, the Arvo Pärt Center is a place for musical encounters and there are therefore regular concerts, lectures and there is a beautiful synergy between nature and music everywhere in and around the building. Be sure to climb the tower and enjoy the view. And when you want to completely connect with yourself – or God. Then visit Pärt’s own mini chapel, an almost sacred place.

2. Tartu, Cultural capital of Europe 2024

We’ll stick with Estonia for a moment, because Tallin’s lesser-known sister, Tartu, has been declared this year as European Capital of Culture. University city Tartu is one of the oldest cities in the Baltics and is known for its lively cultural activities, stages and cafes. With around 100,000 inhabitants, it is a compact city full of old buildings and located on the beautiful river banks of the Emajõgi. The rather perennially popular university is also one of the oldest in Northern Europe, founded in 1632.

Theme Tartu

The theme during Tartu 2024 is: The art of survival and the main events are divided into four program lines: Tartu and the Earth, Tartu and humanity, Tartu and Europe and Tartu and the universe. From folkloric festivals and grand celebrations to walks and canoe trips under the full moon, there are plenty of reasons to discover this special city this year.

3. Carpetland. Critial Tapestries (Antwerp)

Until April 14, Kunsthal Extra City in Antwerp presents the unique group exhibition Carpetland. Critical Tapestries Located in a former Dominican monastery, this exhibits work by twelve – mainly female – international artists whose artistic practice revolves around textiles and carpets. Not an everyday subject and it takes visitors all over the world.

Critical questions

Tapestries and rugs; felted, woven, knotted or embroidered; abstract or figurative; Each of the works of art in this exhibition tells a complex story where technology and symbolism go hand in hand with criticism of our contemporary society. Carpetland. Critical Tapestries. Focuses less on aesthetic beauty and design, but asks critical questions about female and often invisible labor, production processes and the demise of old techniques, as well as questions about cultural identity, migration, diaspora and various forms of exoticism.

Flaming patchwork

The exhibitionoffers a tantalizing mix of international names such as Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales (Peru), Isa do Rosário (Brazil),Natalia Nakazawa (U.S.A.) and young promising work from Belgium. One of the eye-catchers is the six-meter-long, flaming patchwork Contradanza by Gonzales. The artist makes critical comments on the Western view of Peruvian traditional indigenous clothing. The work of Isa do Rosário is also disruptive in a productive way. She uses her typical visual language to express the horrors of slavery and the slave trade that her ancestors faced.


Hussein Shikha‘s artistic research focuses on southern Iraqi carpet techniques and symbolisms that have become increasingly less common since the British Mandate in Iraq. Shikha also made her own woven carpet for the first time for this exhibition, in collaboration with the Textile Museum in Tilburg.

4. Inspirational books: The Great Divide & Rana

Yellowstone NP. | Photo: Tim Voors

The Great Divide – Tim Voors

At almost 5,000 kilometers, theContinental Divide Trail(CDT ) the longest hiking trail in the world that runs through one country. Straight through the United States, from Glacier National Park on the Canadian border, the route meanders through the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado to southern New Mexico. The Dutchman Tim Voors wrote a beautiful book about it, The Great Divide, Walking the Continential Divide Trail, published by Gestalten.

Famous Parks

Voors crossed several famous parks such as Yellowstone National Parks, The Rocky Mountains, The Bob Marshall Wilderness and South San Juan Wilderness. The trained long-distance hiker took 4.5 months, but had a false start because he suffered a serious ankle wound before even setting foot on the famous hike route. After four days of rest, his adventure began, straight through the wilderness of Glacier Park.

All kinds of emotions

The book reads like a train; like a boys’ book in which the main character takes you on his harsh journey, where all kinds of emotions stick with you. Along the way he is not only fascinated by the breathtaking landscapes and varied rugged nature, he meets and hangs out with various idiosyncratic characters, endures the necessary illnesses and cold, comes face to face with wild animals and undergoes a mental, physical and spiritual journey with himself .

Inspirational book

The handy format of the book also contains countless beautiful landscape photos, supplemented with illustrations and maps by the author, with which Tim Voors visually vividly depicts this epic route. The gear list and the trail in numbers are also nice additions. An inspiring book, the route of which is not for every hiker, but certainly encourages you to go deep into the forest and leave the hectic world behind, even if it is for a few days.   

The Great Divide | edition: hardcover | number of pages: 240 |language: English| size: 17×24 | price: €35 | publisher: Gestalten

Tim Voors wrote several other books about long-distance routes, such as The Great Alone (also under Gestalten). He also exhibits his work, teaches at the Windesheim School of Journalism (Zwolle) and was Interim Creative Director for various brands such as Google, Nikon and The North Face.

Look HERE for other book titles by Tim Voors.

Rana – Marieke ten Berge

The young arctic fox Rana lives in the far north, on Spitsbergen. While playing she gets lost and has to survive alone on the icy snow plain. She is very far from home. When a friendly polar bear takes her along, he tells her stories about the ancient ice, the long polar night and the stars. Then she remembers her mother’s words and how she can find her way back home.

Heartwarming Spitsbergen

Illustrator and author Marieke ten Berge not only portrays the Arctic foxes in a heart-warming way in this picture book, this also applies to the snowy landscapes and winter cold. She traveled to Spitsbergen herself and observed the fluffy, white predators several times. In addition, Ten Berge gives the dark night beautiful color tones, especially when the Northern Lights show off in the starry sky. On the last page an informative page has been added about the life of arctic foxes on Spitsbergen.

Rana | edition: hardcover | number of pages: 32 | format: 32 | size: 24 x 28 cm | price: €14,99 | age: 4+ | uitgever: Lemniscaat

The love for nature is immediately visible in the beautiful work of Marieke ten Berge. She published several titles under Lemniscaat, including Polder with texts by Eva Mooraal and Noord with contributions by Jesse Goossens. She won a Silver Pencil for the latter non-fiction title.

For more information about Marieke ten Berge look HERE.  

5. Biënnale Malta

This spring, the island of Malta presents its first edition of Between March and May there is an extensive program with work by 80 artists from 23 countries, including 24 local talents. Some international artists such as Tania Bruguera, Andrea Ferrero, Barbra Kapusta, Dew Kim, Edson Chagas, Amy Bravo, Anna Anderegg and the Post Disaster Collective and Agnes Questionmark and Maltese makers Austin Camilleri, Norbert Attard, Trevor Borg, Romeo Roxman Gatt and Martina Farrugia, have been commissioned to connect national heritage with contemporary art . 21 historical locations play an important role, of which 17 places are related to Heritage Malta. The smaller island of Gozo is also involved.

Program Biennale

Artistic director of, Sofia Baldi Pighi, recently unveiled the four artistic themes: the Matriarchy, post-colonialism, the Mediterranean and piracy. The public program consists of workshops, discussions and conferences, aimed at all ages. So for a dose of quirky culture you have to go to Malta this spring. is an initiative of Heritage Malta through MUŻA, the Malta National Community Art Museum in collaboration with Arts Council Malta, and is supported by the President of Malta and UNESCO. Look HERE for the full programme.

Malta is an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It consists of three main islands: Malta, Comino and Gozo. Known for its history, culture and temples dating back more than 7,000 years, Malta is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to the fortresses, megalithic temples and burial chambers, Malta is blessed with almost 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.


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