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Urban tales unveil neighborhood’s character

In a welcome break from ongoing news of last year’s tragic disaster, on Thursday the Riga Soviet-era high-rise neighborhood of Zolitūde became host to the Capital of Culture’s Urban Storytelling arts project and its exposition entitled “Solitude”.

In an ordinary residential courtyard located at Ruses street 14 at 18:00 a film screening and modern dance performance will open the exposition, which consists of a portrait exhibit of Zoltūde residents by Aija Bley in collaboration with Japanese artist Aiaka Yamamoto.

An exclusive cast of residents of Zolitūde will participate in choreographers' Sintija Siliņa and Agnese Bordjukova’s contemporary dance performance. The programme of the event also includes a poetry slam featuring poets from Zolitūde, and a film programme: Ivars Seleckis’ documentary film “Zolitūde” and archive materials – newsreels about the development of the area, buildings constructed by guest workers from Vietnam, one about the Imanta level crossing, and a very unusual film, shot at the beginning of the 1990s, about a homeless man.

The Urban Storytelling art project was launched last weekend in the city district of Sarkandaugava, home to the state Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Treatment Centre and surrounding gardens and park, which hosted unique art exhibits dedicated to theme of artistic genius and mental health.

The project is one of Riga’s many Capital of Culture events and will conclude next week in the neighborhood of Brasla with a unique program of its own in the Great Cemetery park on Miera street.

Māra Pētersone’s exhibition of Brasa residents’ photo portraits, the “Great Cemetery Stories” will open at 7 p.m. on August 28. An hour later, film installation “The Far Light” will be unveiled in the square next to the resting place of the Barons family. The installation features excerpts from Aivars Freimanis’ film “Life” and Andris Slapiņš documentary film “Krišjānis Barons”. Whereas Kristīne Želve’s work “Narration” will feature Ieva Birnbauma telling Kārlis Skalbe’s story “Executioner’s Daughter”. Organist Māris Bietags will close the “Urban Storytelling” project with the “Night Organ Music Concert” in the Great Cemetery Church from 10 p.m. until midnight.

The project is part of the “Riga 2014” Programme’s thematic line “Road Map”, and it aims to integrate cultural and artistic developments in the urban environment of the neighbourhoods. The project is being implemented by the association “Domuzīme”.

“People are very enthusiastic about doing something, they are ready to get involved. It is highly important that those who are the least associated with culture are the most active and willing to participate. I can see that they really need this dose of culture,” Kristīne Želve, the head of the “Riga 2014” project “Urban Storytelling”, says describing her experience of organising the project.

 

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