Laidi Legends

“Laidi Legends” is an art event at the PAiR residence in Pāvilosta, where Ieva Epnere exhibits her video works and photographs. In the autumn of 2021, the artist spent two weeks at the “Kuldīga Municipality Creative Artists’ Residence”, staying in the right wing of Laidi School and getting to know people and their skills, as well as started weaving tapestry on the Laidi loom herself.

Ieva Epnere was interested in the non-material evidence of the past and the Spirit of this place revealed in legends. From this, the idea for a play was born that was performed at the Laidi School’s centenary gathering, which was postponed by one year due to the pandemic.

By cooperating with the school dramatic group and inviting the choreographer Elīna Gediņa, five “Laidi Legends” plays were created. About the white lady, the Countess of Laidi, who wanders around the castle due to unfulfilled love as a reproach to prejudices and greed in different social groups. About the foundation sacrifice, or the blood sacrifice of Valtaiķi Church, which is necessary so that the building does not collapse. For the best place in the ravine near the Rudzīši stone where marigolds flourish. About the mystical 70-metre abyss in the middle of the forest where Turlava, Snēpele and Laidi border, and the marsh sedge feeds on the passions of territorial interests. About the red cow that appears once in a hundred years from which money can be shaken.

In the flames of the Russian revolution of 1905, Kazdanga Castle, belonging to the owners of the Laidi manor burnt down. In Laidi, farmers were beaten. The censor Remiķis who came from Laidi shortly before Tsar Nicholas II’s manifesto on freedom of speech had passed through censorship the drama tale “The Silver Veil” written by Aspazija in which the main character, Guna, sets fire to the royal palace with a red veil.  The White German newspaper “Düna-Zeitung” (1905, 221) wrote indignantly about the provocation in the New Latvian Theatre. The theatre mingled with life.  About 450 German-Baltic castles and manors were burnt down. The buried gold of the censor Remiķis, mentioned in one of the legends, is nowhere to be found.

The information from the Ministry of Education shows that in the last twenty-three years, more than 400 schools have been closed in Latvia; Laidi School was closed with fireworks.

The artist Ieva Epnere, together with the cameraman Valdis Celmiņš, continues to work on the documentary film about the last semester of Laidi School in which the celebration and farewell were mixed in a symmetrical inversion.

About the artist:

Ieva Epnere (born in 1977 in Liepāja) graduated from the Visual Communication Department of the Latvian Academy of Arts (2003), Textile Art Department (2001) and postgraduate studies at HISK in Ghent (2012). Ieva Epnere creates photographs, textile works, video installations and films in which personal and private stories are the starting point for artistic reflections on identity, traditions and rituals. Since 1998, she participates in exhibitions in Latvia and abroad. Ieva Epnere received the Purvītis Award 2019 for her work “The Sea of Living Memories”, she is a DAAD, and The Berliner Künstlerprogramm scholarship receiver in Berlin (2019-2020). Ieva Epnere has had exhibitions in several art residencies, the most recent of which are DAAD, Berlin (2019/2020), Iaspis, Stockholm (2018), Fogo Island Arts, Fogo, Canada (2017, 2018), ISCP, New York (2016). Currently, Ieva Epnere teaches composition and photography at ISSP School and Liepāja Music, Art and Design High School.


The author of the exhibition text: Anita Vanaga

Exhibition project manager: Līna Birzaka-Priekule

The exhibition is open from 27 August to 30 October

The exhibition is supported by: VV Foundation, Kurzeme planning region, Kuldīga Municipality,
Kuldīga Artists’ Residence, LG and VKKF


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