Three artists from Latvia take part in MagiC Carpets residencies in Croatia, Georgia and the UK

For the sixth year, the New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) is a partner in the international platform “MagiC Carpets”, which brings together 19 biennials, triennials, festivals, organisations, institutes, creative spaces and other cultural event producers from different European Union and candidate countries. The partners aim to provide emerging artists with the opportunity to participate in residencies to create new works with local artists and communities that highlight local specificities and mitigate the decline of the storytelling tradition in contemporary society, promoting cultural accessibility, activism and participation.

This year, NTIL, together with partners from Croatia, Georgia and the UK, gave 3 Latvian artists the opportunity to participate in MagiC Carpets residencies abroad.

In May and July this year, theatre director Paula Pļavniece participated in a residency organised by the cultural organisation Lab852 in Jelsa, Croatia, which focused on the relationship between culture, art, public and private spaces on the island of Hvar. The residency was concluded at the Jelsa Art Biennial with a contemporary opera performance “Imagining Gardens“, created in collaboration with local residents and the artist duo Andrej Beštak (HR) | Anja Leko (HR).

“As part of my residency, I participated at the Jelsa Art Biennial, where we created a contemporary opera performance together with various Croatian and non-Croatian artists. Our aim was to get as close as possible to the locals’ sense of the garden as a metaphor and to create a work of art that brings back the tourist-ridden everyday life of the locals, telling stories that are relevant today and for them. The biggest challenge was the collaboration between artists from different disciplines, but we coped well, sharing responsibilities, finding similarities in our expressions and learning and being inspired by each other. From the beginning, one of our guidelines was to work with the local community, which led us to collaborate with soloists from the adult choir of the local church and the children’s choir of the town. We also made contact with local residents through research and conversations, visited their homes and courtyards, and heard stories about life on Kalas (the street that was the focus of this year’s Biennale). We worked with soloists to create authentic pieces of music and with a children’s choir, through games and friendship, to create a movement score for the performance. All this resulted in a well-attended event, where the main visitors were the islanders.” – Paula Pļavniece

In August this year, dramaturge and filmmaker Dāvis Kaņepe as part of the residency organised by Tbilisi Photo Festival, explored the south-western part of Georgia – Adjara “The MagiC Carpets residency was carried out in collaboration with “Meeting Place: Mountains”, an art residency programme in Upper Adjara for international and interdisciplinary Georgian artists who wish to conduct artistic research in the mountainous region of Adjara and create works about the region. Davis Kanepe was the fifth artist in residence in the project.

During his residency in and around Khulo and Tago, the artist chose the medium of photography to capture the daily life of these communities during the hottest time of the year. The construction of the new road, the inevitable arrival of globalisation and tourism, while being the only part of Sakartvelo where Muslims are in the majority, the artist focused on the community and traditions of these communities, which are literally connected by “magic carpet”, one of the longest funicular routes in Europe, linking these two places – one a remote village on a mountain, the other vibrant towns through which the main road passes daily, carrying many “messages”.

At the end of October and the beginning of November, artist Kirils Ēcis is in residence in Folkestone, UK, organised by project partners “Folkestone Fringe”, an organisation that creates art, architecture, sound and performance projects in Folkestone and organises several annual urban festivals to showcase high quality work by local and visiting artists. Kirill’s residency explores Folkestone’s urban landscape, inviting local residents to share their memories in order to collectively understand how the town and its surrounding natural landscape has changed over time, with a particular focus on lost places that are still alive and present in residents’ memories and stories. During his residency, Kiril is creating a multimedia installation dedicated to the “Rotunda” amusement park, which remained on Folkestones’ beach until it was dismantled in 2007.

“MagiC Carpets” platform and artists’ residencies are co-funded by the EU’s Creative Europe programme and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.

Foto: MagiC Carpets artists and project partners archives

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