21 September to 7 October 2018
The Latvian word kopā means ‘together’, or ‘in unison’. So it was fitting that participating artists Jillian and Peteris Ciemitis jointly produced a body of work for a show with that same name; “Kopā” – an exhibition of art by Baltic-Australian artists.
Taking out an entire upstairs gallery at Moores Contemporary Art Gallery in Fremantle Australia, Jillian and Peteris Ciemitis have a joint showing that explores the fading ripples of the post-war diaspora that fled northern Europe in 1948.
Jillian Ciemitis’ series “Occupation” is a dark ‘noir’ exploration of the impact of Soviet occupation of Latvia, both in terms of physical trauma and displacement, as well as the echoes of psychological impact. These dark images are counterpointed by a contemporary constructed memory of Latvian culture in “Kokle”.
Peteris Ciemitis examines the relationship between a ‘Latvian self’ and the willful subconscious identity in “ES+ID”. These themes are touched on further a series of pen and ink sketches the “Portret” series, which amongst other things, features one of the working drawings of Peter Greste (- a sketch that was undertaken following a sitting with Greste which led to a series of major paintings that now have a variety of homes, from the offices of Amnesity International in Sydney, to the Qiajiang International Museum of Art in China).
Peteris Ciemitis co-presenting in a panel discussion at the National Museum of
Art “Arsenals, during the “Latviesu maksla trimda” exhibition.
A major exhibition open at Latvijas Nacionala makslas muzeja izstazu zale “Arsenals” (the Latvian National Museum of Art) which remembers the journey and new lives of Latvian’s dispora peoples. The exhibition, “Latviesu maksla trimda” presented audiences with works by approximately 100 artists including Imants Tillers, Janis Nedela and Peteris Ciemitis. Notably, at the time of the exhibition, the National Museum and also acquired Ciemitis’ painting “Pasa Galva” for its permanent collection.
Left: choral performance at the opening of “New Equation” at the Talsi Museum of Art
Right: Peteris Ciemitis interviewed by Ingvilda Strautmane on Latvjas Radio 1 “Kulturas Rondo”
July – September, 2013
In 2013, artist Maris Raudzins coordinated a travelling exhibition to tour the Talsi Museum of Art and Madona Museum of Art in Latvia, with “Jaunas Vienadojums” (“New Equation”). The exhibition comprised of fifty works by nine Latvian-Australian artists, featuring Peteris Ciemitis, Janis Nedela, Maris Raudzins and Len Zuks. Some of the works explore modern state of life both conceptually and emotionally, while others convey images of an alien landscape.
© ‘Are We Not Drawn Onward to a New Era’ 2013 ink on paper Peteris Ciemitis
“Penumbra” (the in-between shadow and light) became the core theme for artists Peteris Ciemitis, Maris Raudzins, Maija Medinis, Gabrielle Mazalevskis and Len Zuks at a joint exhibition at Heathcote Museum and Gallery in April. Curated by Olimpia Cullity, the exhibition dealt with the idea of cultural and spatial displacement in contemporary society. A keynote of the event was also an artist talk by Peteris Ciemitis on “Creativity in Confirmed Spaces”.
Arbus referenced in the palindromic “are we not drawn onward to a new era?”, by Peteris Ciemitis, exhibited in “Penumbra”.
photograph by Jillian Ciemitis
December 5, 2009
The exhibition, “Displacement and Belonging” opened by Diana Warnock on December 5, features work by Peteris Ciemitis, Lidija Dombrovska-Larsen, Selga Esots, Indra Geidans, Maija Kins, Garielle Mazalevskis, Maris Raudzins, Lolita Skye-Lark, Arvids Sodums and Len Zuks. “Critically acclaimed for his luminous portraits, (Ciemitis) also showed landscapes on paper” (Lyn DeCiero, Artists Chronicle, Issue No 130)
Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery, 46 Henry Street, Fremantle
December 5 to December 18, 2009. Daily: 10am to 5pm
1.left to right: Dagnija Greste, Dr Vaira Vike-Freiberg, 2.assembled artists at ALMA Book Launch, Customs House, Sydney
Imants Tillers, Isodore Tillers, Peteris Ciemitis
(photograph courtesy Vija Spogis-Erdmanis)
December 27, 2008
A comprehensive 256 page book surveying Latvian artists in Australia, was launched on December 27, 2008 by the former President of Latvia, Dr Vaira Vike-Freiberg, at Customs House, Sydney, Australia.
‘This is a comprehensive collection of works by Latvian artists in Australia. It lists 103 artists who are either post-war immigrants or descendants of immigrants and includeds biographies and first-person statements.
The text is in English and Latvian and has essays on Latvian culture in Australia. The artists’ statements and the stories of cultural resettlement alongside the images add an illuminating dimension.
The most well-known artist here is Imants Tillers but works by Uldis Abolins, Peteris Ciemitis, Lidija Dombrovska-Larsen and Peter Dombrovskis also impress.’ Marc McEvoy, Brisbane Times, January 20, 2009.
The book launch was accompanied by an invited exhibition of work (“AL52KD”) by many of the artists surveyed in the publication. The exhibition, curated by Andra Krumins, featured work by Peteris Ciemitis, Harijs Piekalns, Janis Nedala and Imants Tillers.