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Sign of the pandemic times: photographer captures empty cultural venues

Photographer Jānis Deinats in cooperation with the Latvian Association of Event Venues has captured the cultural venues - concert halls, theaters, museums - emptied by the constraints of the pandemic, Latvian Radio reported March 23.

If life and energy were swirling around cultural sites in the past, they are now closed, quiet and empty. When they will come alive again, no one can predict, but the landlords continue to maintain and care for them, in the hope that onsite events are not just a distant and unattainable dream.

In order to recall the importance of these sites and to leave a testimony to history, the photographer Jānis Deinats has captured the empty places and created a selection of photos.

“I just caught this real situation, which is in some way a sign of the times. I hope all this will pass and these photographs, these pictures will testify – yes, there was that time,” said Jānis Deinats.

Great empty halls, silent cash registers, a poster about a concert that never happened, a chair forbidden to sit on -  Deinats visited the exhibition hall Ķīpsala, the Daile Music Hall, Arena Rīga, Latgale embassy Gors and other sites. 

Looking at the photos, Deinats said: “The great arena that has regularly been full, now – empty... But it is meant for a constant, large turnover of people, accompanied by expressions of joy, applause, moments of emotional uplift. All of this is being paid, paid, paid... It's a great cost, keeping it all.”

“I saw that [they] were ready to work right away. Just give a chance. Both the people who own these places and those who want to go to these places are thirsty for an active, normal life. But what is one of the very devastating things – uncertainty. We don't know. There is often one, another, a third hope... But when they don't come to fruition, there's a huge disappointment. (..) The illnesses that will be left from the time of the pandemic, can they all be cured?” asked the photographer, adding he is not a judge, as a photographer, but an observer with a very real view of what is happening.

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