Closing events of “MagiC Carpets” residencies in Riga

This week is marked in the “MagiC Carpets” sign – on the 17th of January the closing event of Līga Ūbele’s residency will take place in the day centre “Ķengarags”, but on the 19th of January a discussion will mark the end of Andrejs Strokin’s residency in the ISSP galery.

For several months, choreographer and scenographer Līga Ūbele has been working with seniors in the day center “Ķengarags” as part of the residency of the international platform “MagiC Carpets”, which is implemented by the New Theatre Institute of Latvia. It is a place that offers seniors various opportunities to spend their free time – classes, activities and events.

At the end of the residency, Līga wants to look back at the experience gained over several months and create an event together with the seniors. Its purpose is to create confidence in the seniors that their creative activities in the day center are important, to highlight the fact that, although the offer of cultural activities in Ķengarags is small, they are the ones who create it themselves by attending the choir, dance classes, etc. The main question of the residency research is the cultural deficit in Ķengarags.

Thinking about the sustainability of the residency, Līga wants to involve young people from various organizations in the event, therefore, at the end of the residency on January 17th at 5PM at the Riga youth center “Kaņieris” Līga invites young people to join the seniors, creating a meeting place for these two generations with the aim of looking for possible ways of cooperation in order to create events together in Ķengarags in the future.

Current world events, which also resonate in our society, encourage us to return to the stories of the individuals and the possible dialogue between different people, communities and places, therefore, in the summer of 2022, the New Theater Institute of Latvia approached photographer and documentarian Andrejs Strokins to participate in the residency of the “MagiC Carpets” project.

In August, during the residency, the artist documented the demolition of the occupation monument in Victory Park in Riga, which symbolically marked a sharp borderline in relations with the legacy of the Soviet occupation. In the autumn of the same year, Strokins started a research project, trying to find contact with young people who would be willing to share stories of experiences about disagreements among family or friends regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine. Coming from a family with Latvian, Polish, and Russian-speaking roots, it has been both difficult and important for Strokins to re-examine and evaluate the multifaceted nature of his identity and belonging to a community. Therefore, his focus was mainly on how these events are experienced by members of the younger generation, who have grown up in bilingual families and get information mostly from social media.

At the end of the residency, on January 19th at 7PM, Andrejs Strokins will present the photo and video material created during the residency in a conversation with philosopher, publicist Igors Gubenko, social anthropologist Inguna Potetinova, scenographer Kristina Rezvih and conversation moderator Ilze Dzenovska. The discussion will address topics and issues arising from conversations with young people from bilingual families.

“Magic Carpets” platform is an international project to promote the mobility and visibility of young European artists from different disciplines, giving artists the opportunity to take part in creative residencies where they work with local communities and artists to create socially inclusive and responsible works of art.

“Magic Carpets” platform and artists’ residencies are co-funded by the EU’s Creative Europe programme.