Mindpower pairs Latvian poets with Estonian punk and Finnish bishop

The latest two episodes of the ‘#mindpower’ series of video vignettes featuring Latvia’s seminal poets Rainis and Aspazija were released last week by the Secretariat of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, this time featuring visits with Estonian actor and theatre director Üllar Saaremäe and the Bishop of Helsinki Irja Askola.

Üllar Saaremäe is an actor and director who currently heads the Rakvere Theatre and is also a punk singer known for originating the Estonian Punk Song Festival since 2008. Together with Jānis Holšteins-Upmanis in the role of Rainis, they gymnastically depict his poem “A Living Life”, expressing the theme of self-development and striving for change, both physically and spiritually.

Finland’s first woman bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Irja Askola has fought for women’s rights, against social and racial inequality and intolerance, and for support for same-sex couples. She isn’t afraid of change in her church and believes her main role is to stand for those who have yet to be heard. Here, together with Eva Ikstena-Strapcāne in the role of Aspazija, they share a reading of Rainis’ aphorism to help one overcome one’s self-doubt in the struggles of life.

The '#mindpower' series of videofilms is being produced for the Presidency as part of its official diplomatic and cultural program. They are produced at the Juris Podnieks Studio by director Olafs Okonovs and cameraman Aleksandrs Grebņevs.

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