“From 1940 to 1941, about 36.000 inhabitants of Latvia were persecuted for political reasons. From 1940 to 1956 Latvia lost 28%, or 565.000, of its people – by war, as refugees, due to repressions by the occupation powers, and deportations to the GULAG. The Soviet deportations were officially explained as important political acts in the fight against the enemies of the proletariat. Whoever protested would be accused of anti-Soviet agitation, a criminal offence according to the 58th paragraph of the criminal code of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic.” (From the book “Through the eyes of a child”)
During my residency at Rucka manor, I heard from the voices of the protagonists the stories about deportations to Siberia. I empathized with the pain and frustration this experience brought in their lives, forever shaping them, and tried to transpose this feeling into my prints. There always remains a gap when History, the part of it with a capital h, does not include the direct consequences, large or small, produced by events on people’s lives. For sharing their story with me I want to thank: the Cesis Association of Latvian Politically Repressed, especially Peteris Ozols, Zigrida Pommere, Mara Vildere, Maija Ballaha, Zinaida Rancane and Alvis Jansons. Thanks also to Elina Kalnina for the work she did making the exhibition “Burning Conscience: 1939-1957” in Cesis. Thank you to the Rucka Artist Residency staff for giving me the opportunity to increase my awareness of the world and for giving me the chance to work on this project.