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Translators in Brussels throw arts show for EU community

The corps of Latvian-language translators working at the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels have organized an exposition of paintings and knitted mittens to show off to their colleagues and the general public there. “We were amazed at how many colors Latvia has!” the organizers of the exhibit told Latvian Radio’s EU correspondent Ina Strazdiņa at its opening Thursday.

The works of the Latvian painters solicited from Riga’s galleries can be seen at one of Brussels’ most notable glass-encased European Quarter buildings called LEX, on the seventh floor where the Languages Department library is located. This is the building where all of the EU member-state and Latvian translators work. They focus daily here on the convoluted texts and documents that emanate constantly from the EU, with which member-state politicians and diplomats must work in their own languages.

However on the day when the Latvians launched their exposition, the daily routine was put aside while people were allowed to take in and talk about Latvia’s multi-colored arts and crafts world.

The exhibit is titled True Colors and features 30 paintings by 22 Latvian artists offering the full palette’s spectrum from the country’s natural environment.

“It seemed like despite the eleven years since Latvia’s been in the EU, a lot of people in Brussels don’t know the first thing about the Latvian nation. I thought we should showcase Latvia’s beautiful nature, how close people are to it here, after all we’re like these real children of nature – we celebrate midsummer, drink birch sap juice and pick mushrooms,” the EU Council’s Secretariat’s Translations Department Latvian Language Section head Baiba Aleksejuka told LR.

Thanks to volunteer efforts and donations, no additional financing was needed to host the exposition. One gallery’s director Agija Sūna arrived in person to see how the Latvians’ artworks would be received so far from home:

“This all came about out of love for Latvia. Artists love to take part in promoting Latvia, any opportunity must be taken. We’ve got multi-generations of artists participating here,” she said.

The exhibit will be open until May 20 at the LEX, moving on afterwards to the Economic and social affairs committee, where it will remain until the end of Latvia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in July. It can be viewed not only by those with security passes to access the building who work there, but also by EU member-state representatives and diplomats who come here daily for meetings. Italy also organized a similar exhibition in honor of its Presidency during the second half of last year.

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