Thursday, 23 May 2013

March '13 // ISSP // Contemporary Self-portraits project

One of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I had as an artist and educator was to facilitate a group of ladies in Bolderaga, Latvia. For almost a week we re-discovered and re-invented the idea of self-portrait, storytelling, family albums, memories and myths. It was a truly inspiring process for me and the participants proving that the idea of narrative lies at the heart of human existence.


This workshop is part of a bigger project that ISSP is involved:

Contemporary Self-Portraits and Portraits
September 2012 – August 2014
The Contemporary Self-Portraits Project focuses on individuals and local communities in four European regions: Finland (Turku), Estonia (Tallinn), Ireland (Dublin), Latvia (Riga) and Sweden (Umeå). The project aims to give local inhabitants a voice in expressing their personal and collective identity through self-portraits created at a series of assisted self-portrait workshops in and around the project locations. The self-portrait processes will contribute to creating a picture of a local European identity as well as encourage the development and sharing of communal art methodology and community development through arts. The results will be presented at exhibitions in each partner country and a Final Symposium in Umea in 2014, as well as in a printed project publication.
In Riga, at least six assisted self-portrait workshops will be held within three selected suburban areas: Bolderāja, Āgenskalns and Ķengarags. The first series of workshops will be led in late 2012 - early 2013 by invited foreign experts, while local artists will hold follow-up workshops in each of the suburbs in 2013. Both local and visiting artists-photographers will be invited to create their own series of inhabitants’ portraits in the project area they are working in.
ISSP 2013 will host a project workshop by Elina Brotherus; two students per partner-organisation will take part.

The presentation of the project results will be part of the Riga EU Capital of Culture 2014 programme, and will be realized in cooperation with Foundation Riga 2014. An extensive exhibition is planned in summer 2014, combining both the self-portraits and portraits of Riga’s inhabitants, as well as non-traditional presentations and events in the project suburbs. Additionally, Argentinean photographer Marcos Lopez will visit Riga for an artistic residency, creating portraits of the suburban population in his unique and colorful pop-latino style.
The partners of the CSP project are Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland), Estonian Academy of Arts, the National College of Art and Design (Ireland), ISSP (Latvia) and Bildmuseet of Umeå University(Sweden). 
The project is funded by the EU Culture Programme and Foundation Riga 2014.
(c) Hertta Kiiski, Una, 2010

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