In early May I visited my home country again (for the fourth time this year!), this time scheduling the trip to coincide with the Riga Photomonth. The inaugural photography festival in Latvia was a real treat with a great selection of events and talks scattered across the town centre, most a mere few minutes walk apart.
Here are some of my highlights:
- Viewfinders: Contemporary Baltic and Nordic Photography at Riga Art Space
Truly eclectic selection of still and moving images from various genres, united by an unmistakable Nordic flair. I was most impressed by Mindaugas Azusilis‘s exploration of Lithuanian happiness, Joachim Fleinert‘s playful animated Victorian portraits, Marie Sjovold‘s dark ghostly visual diary of motherhood and Ieva Epnere‘s quest for how to be a good artist and a good mother at the same time:
- Iveta Vaivode: Somethere on a Disappering Path at the National Library of Latvia
On display at a newly opened and much debated about venue on the bank of Daugava river is a solo-show of one of the best-known contemporary Latvian photographers Iveta Vaivode. Tracing her family roots, Vaivode traveled to Latgale and the resulting body of work is a very personal documentation of the region and its unique culture:
- Abroad at Mūkusala Art Salon
Loosely tied around the theme of foreign travels by Latvian artists, the exhibition presents an interesting selection of work that is worth seeing despite the lack of a strong common narrative and remote location of the venue.
Also worth seeing are photojournalist’s Jan Garup‘s documentation of war and famine in Somalia, appropriately displayed at the Latvian War Museum, and Mary Ellen Mark‘s black-and-white Frames of America at the National Library of Latvia.
Parallel to the main photography festival, the ISSP run a three-day mini festival dedicated to self-published photographic books. The pop-up library displayed at The Mill co-working space was worth diving in for a looong swim through photobook goodness, but you can also watch digital presentations of the best-of-the-best publications online.
My own project Motherhood ABC was on display at the Flower Pavilion in Ziedoņdārzs park as a part of the Photomonth festival, but I spoke about it to much, I will say no more and just share a portrait of happy-me, taken at the exhibition opening by Dmitrij Sulžic: