The 5 th edition of Contemporary Art Program 2019 at Culture palace Ziemeļblāzma

A warm loving room
Heated with birch firewood.
It’s even warmer and more loving,
When mum is in the room.
(Traditional Latvian folk song)

Eva Vēvere “Reverse”

A well-known folk song celebrates a mother’s warmth and love, and this is also a popular song at the annual programs of Mother’s Day celebration at pre-school educational institutions. In English popular culture, it could be compared to Elvis Presley’s sugary Home Is Where the Heart Is, even though the perspective rendered here is one of a heterosexual man, not a child anymore. Building on the never-ending yearning for a place to call home, the English version of the exhibition originated.

Although perceptions regarding the role of a woman have changed in Latvia during the past century, the belief that a woman is the “the guardian of the stove” remains widespread. Dividing up familial duties, primarily responsibility for looking after children, “creating a cosy feeling of home” and, more often than not, keeping the family intact, must be undertaken by the woman. The tempo of life in the home and the everyday concerns, to which the woman devotes much more time than the man, have low social prestige. Moreover, the emotionally demanding and physically tiring work that goes into maintaining the household and family, which the woman does without remuneration, is one of the mechanisms, which fosters the growth of the neoliberal economy and deepens gender inequality.

Rasa Jansone “Altāris”

Upon returning home from work, instead of being greeted with a freshly cooked dinner, a woman rather can look forward to the next list of jobs to do. Traditionally being responsible for gifting warmth and love to others, oftentimes women feel as if in their own home they are in internal exile. The walls of domesticity can foster social isolation, as well as becoming a cover for violence and private crises. Is the longing for a real home a utopian vision? Under the auspices of the centenary programme of the Latvian State, the creative team wish to discuss joint responsibility in creating a home, where every member of the family is welcome, loved and protected. 

Katrīna Gaile “Edīte”

Artists: Anda Magone, Elīna Brasliņa, Eva Vēvere, Katrīna Gaile, Mētra Saberova and Rasa Jansone.
Exhibition curator and text: Jana Kukaine.
Scenography: Gundega Evelone, Andris Landaus.
Graphic design: Vivianna Maria Stanislavska.
Translation: Jānis Frišvalds.

Featured image: From the work by Mētra Saburova “Prepp”