Latvians get taste of Estonian culture during 'Estonia month' in Riga

The opening concert of 'Estonia month' in Riga.
The opening concert of 'Estonia month' in Riga. Source: ERR

At the Riga Latvian Society House, this year's "Estonia month" is underway. Throughout February, Latvians will be able to experience Estonian art and music at the society house as part of the celebrations to mark the 105th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.

For the 11th year in a row, "Estonia month" will focus on Estonian textile art. This year it features the work of Aet Ollisaar, head of the textile department at the Pallas University of Applied Sciences (Kõrgem Kunstikool) in Tartu.

"Estonia Month" is a joint initiative, involving both Latvians and Estonians. It is led by Guntis Gailitis, head of the Latvian Society of Riga and owner of the historic Latvian Society House, along with Juris Žigurs, a Latvian citizen and chair of the Estonian Theater Union's  Seniors Association, who lives in Tallinn. The two have been cooperating on joint Estonian-Latvian projects for decades.

"We first met in 1991 when Baltica was here," said Žigurs. "However, I got to know the current chairman at the time when there was some really good cooperation between the Latvian and Estonian national operas," he said.

"February is 'Estonia month' and so the Estonian Embassy holds events here (in Riga). But the Latvian Society in Riga is not the only organization that cooperates closely with Estonians – (There are also) schools, other educational institutions, the opera...," Gailitis said.

This year's "Estonia Month" in Latvia was opened with a concert by young musicians from the Riga Medinši School. "For the 11th consecutive year, Estonian textile artists have also been invited to Riga to showcase their works, which are well suited to the white hall of the society house building.

Ollisaar's exhibition "Still the same moon" (Ikka see sama kuu), brings together works from recent years with those created in the past, inviting viewers to reflect on important moments from their own lives.

"Tartu artists are very active in engaging with Latvia and Riga. So, I don't think that it's an unexpected or unknown world I've found myself in. In the same way, working at the Pallas University of Applied Sciences, our textile department has good cooperation with the Art Academy of Latvia," said Ollisaar.

As well as Ollisaar's exhibition, the Riga Latvian Society House will also host a number of Estonian musicians throughout February. A reception organized by Eerik Marmei, Estonia's ambassador to Latvia, is also set to be organized this month to mark the 105th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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