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Exhibition Randali/People living by the Sea in Tartu


The exhibition Randali/People living by the sea, presenting the life of Livs is opening on 8th March, 2019, at 15.00 in the Finno-Ugric Department of the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics of the University of Tartu (Jakobi 2.).


During the event, Rūta Karma, daughter of linguist and researcher Tõnu Karma present his father's research, while Miina Norvik and Tuuli Tuisk give and overview on the activities of the Institutes regards the Livonians.


For six summers already, Livs’ shore society “Randlist” in collaboration with artists-painters Ieva Liepiņa and Agnija Ģērmane has been holding a special event of artistic value – en plein air – outdoor painting workshop “Līvzeme” (Livland). A classic outdoor workshop where an artist works in outdoors, not in his or her studio, is very popular in Latvia. However, “Livland” is not just an outdoor workshop in its classical sense. When organising this happening, the curators tried to combine quite a wide spectrum of generations and styles of expression of artists focusing on in-depth exploration of tradition way of life of the locals, surrounding environment and current cultural and historical background.


Locals involved
The outdoor workshop has two parties of organisers and 2 guidelines either. First of all, the determinant factor of this outdoor workshop is local residents who accommodate artists in their families and homes. The idea to paint portraits was born from the concept to get local residents as much involved as possible, for them to have an interesting outcome, and to immortalise modern faces for future history, as they are seen by modern artists. Upon painting a portrait an artist has a unique opportunity to enter people’s lives for a couple of hours at least. For the work to succeed both parties need to open up emotionally. When posing, a contact is established, and it is a mutual, intensive and special communication where the artist experiences golden waives of human experience and open heart flowing over him or her.

Randali - Ieva 

A documentary film about the workshops
It has been an emotional and enriching experience for elderly people especially, and they have been the reason why the artists have returned to Mazirbe and other villages of the Livs year after year. Creative activities of the artists coming from different countries and styles, exchanging their experiences in the wild environment of the coastal nature reserve also inspired the curators to immortalise the whole process in a video. In 2018, thanks to cooperative and positively mad people – artist Anete Lesīte and operator Igors Tūns, the whole process of the outdoor workshop was recorded on a film. This video material was developed to show visitors of the exhibition the atmosphere of creating artwork, add moving video portraits to the painted portraits and record stories of life for the history.


International partnership
Another interesting aspect during outdoor workshop “Livland” is the regular participation of artists from other countries. The virtually extinct language of the Liv nation belongs to the Finno-Ugric linguistic group; therefore, it seemed only natural to invite artists from the countries of the same linguistic family. For four years already the Hungarian Institute in Tallinn has been involved in organisation of the outdoor workshop by approaching professional Hungarian artists and supporting their involvement. Thanks to the cooperative and dedicated activities of the Institute, exhibitions of the artwork created during the outdoor workshops were held in Tallinn in the year 2017, in Viljandi in 2018 and this year too – several exhibitions of the work of the outdoor workshop will be held in Estonia and Hungary marking the centenary year of the state of Latvia. Artists from Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Belarus, Lithuania, and far-off South Korea have lived and worked on the shores of the Livs. It has been an interesting and emotionally charged experience for both the artists and local residents.


Considerable Collection of Artwork
The project “Livland” has never been limited to the 10-day outdoor workshop in Mazirbe. The whole idea of this endeavour was to make exhibitions of art rooted in their daily lives more accessible for local people, where they would have been involved wholeheartedly. Over the years, society “Randalist” has compiled a considerable collection, which has both artistic and historic value, and which allows organising several exhibitions concurrently. It is a serious cultural phenomenon that might reach beyond the borders of this region.


The Future of Mazirbe is a big Question Mark
Right now, Mazirbe Village is on a verge of changes and ominous uncertainty, because the boarding school of Mazirbe, which has been virtually the only place offing jobs to villagers, is pending liquidation. We all hope that the major political and economic interests will not drive people out of their houses, people who have their roots there who have created that environment for generations and whose spirit has permeated this place.


The exhibition is on display until 29th March, you and all the friends of art and the culture of Livs are welcome!


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