Latvian «virtual museum» in line for Japanese prize

A groundbreaking online museum that chronicles the fates of children sent to Siberia during the Soviet occupation is in the running for a prestigious Japanese prize.

The "Esi Pats" (It's Yourself) project is one of six finalists in the Creative Frontier category of the Japan prize 2016 which rewards innovative efforts to educate via various media formats.

The entry, from the Amata municipality in central Latvia, is remarkable not only for its quality but the fact it was put together on a tiny budget, but will be battling against other entries from major media companies and national organizations.

As previously reported by LSM, Esi Pats recrds the experiences of child deportees via audio, video, animation and interactive elements in five different languages. It also features the writings of Melanija Vanaga, who was sent to Siberia with her son and produced powerful accounts of the ordeal she and others endured.

The winners of the awards will be announced on November 2nd on Japanese national television channel NHK, which runs the awards.

Attending from Latvia will be Elina Kalnina, the driving force behind the Esi Pats project.

She told LSM she was proud to make it to the final of the competition: "On Thursday night I will cross Siberia and will fly over Tyukhtet [to which many Latvians, including Vanaga, were deported]. I also feel honored that I will have a chance to present the story of occupation and deportations to international audience."  

"I see this as a great opportunity to tell the Latvian story to the world. When I was working on the exhibition project I wanted so very much that this exhibition would work, and it does. I hope that Latvian institutions that deal with heritage (museums, libraries and archives) will notice and I will have many good projects to work on in future," said Kalnina.

Melanija Vanaga's story is also told in the film Chronicles of Melanie which is set for release in November and, as previously reported by LSM, is also in line for an award.

 

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