2018 AWARDEES

Lorna MacIntyre 

 

What did you get out of this residency opportunity?

Spending a month in Latvia through the Mark Rothko Memorial Trust provided me with an opportunity to make work in a completely new context and led to the development of work that otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to create…Primarily it gave me the opportunity to take a series of photographic images which I have subsequently printed and exhibited as part of a broader group of works in a solo show at Dundee Contemporary Arts.

 

What were your impressions of Daugavpils and the Mark Rothko Art Centre?

Daugavpils itself felt like a complex and interesting but often difficult context to be based in. The history of the fortress as a Nazi prisoner of war camp in WW2 in particular felt challenging. The many abandoned buildings and the history of numerous armies occupation created an odd, soulless atmosphere. Initially I found this atmosphere darkly fascinating, but after some time there I felt a sense of sadness about man’s inhumanity to man, and the atmosphere began to feel

oppressive at times. It was good to have the encouragement of the trust to travel within the region and we spent the 3rd week of 4 in the North of the country in Riga and the north coast. This felt really important to get a sense of the country as a whole and explore the Latvian speaking part of

it more fully. I had the chance to visit the Riga Biennale as well as several museums and galleries in Riga and it felt enriching to be in a more cosmopolitan context for a while.

 

What advice would you give future candidates? 

Make sure you take enough art materials and equipment with you as there is limited resources out there. Take the time and opportunity to travel wider in Latvia and enjoy the time and space that this award allows you. 

 

 

Selma Parlour

What did you get out of this residency opportunity?

I spent a lot of my time reading, writing and exploring the fortress. I walked for hours every day. I also obviously spent a lot of time in my studio -  I wanted to use the residency to see if I might find other ways of working.. In a way it is too soon for me to tell the extent of influence it'll have on my person and practice, but I will keep you informed of developments… 

 

It was a truly special experience, living and working above 6 paintings by Rothko and having easy opportunity to frequently swing by and see with fresh eyes and thoughts. I often had them to myself...

What were your impressions of Daugavpils and the Mark Rothko Art Centre?

Day to day life at the fortress is somewhat surreal. The people of Daugavpils have had it hard.. I hadn't appreciated that the population there are predominately Russian so my attempts at Latvian really fell flat. Of course I was aware that the fortress had seen centuries of war, but living there, the hardship and death are tangible… We had beautiful weather. I spent a few days reading in the sunshine. One day, a swan flew just metres over my head. The sky there is quite special. The nights are light. It's like living in that Magritte painting where the earth is dark and the sky is day. The moon was huge and yellow or brilliant white. The sunsets were frequently long dark clouds accentuated in luminous red.    

 

The accommodation is very good. The kitchen is good (although I was use to having it to myself so I may feel differently if the rooms were full). The studio is adequate (although the set-up is more classroom). The fortress cafe is nice (I'm vegan, they made me 2 Euro salads). Riga Balsam is the local tipple and takes some getting use to! There's a lake. The countryside is littered with storks. The centre has cultural events, folk dancing. They like speeches and give out a lot of flowers. The supermarket is in walking distance. The city has trams.

What advice would you give future candidates?

The train from Riga to Daugavpils is a steal so it's worth going first class. Farida - who oversees the residency - is warm and helpful. The residency experience is somewhat isolating, so be prepared for that. Workwise, I should have been better planned and posted materials to the centre ahead of time. I would recommend doing that. The library does have a small section is english but I wouldn't rely on it. Sigulda's tall tower with its incredible views is definitely worth a visit

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