Multimedia exhibition “Invisible Lives” opened in s/c Origo

In order to reveal the reality that people with visual impairments face on a daily basis, fifteen photographers from Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, in cooperation with representatives of the Latvian Society of the Blind in Cesis, have created a unique multimedia exhibition “Invisible Lives”. It is available from April 7th on the 2nd floor of the new building of the shopping center Origo. The photos included in the exhibition are complemented by specially prepared audio commentary, while the venue was chosen deliberately – the new building of s/c Origo has received and acknowledgment of The Latvian Cooperation Organization for People with Special Needs “Sustento” regarding the accessibility of the environment for people with impaired mobility, vision and hearing. The exhibition is produced by Rucka Art Foundation.

The multimedia exhibition “Invisible Lives” created by Rucka Art Foundation speaks about visually impaired people living in Cesis and their experiences. The community in Cesis has existed for several decades, and at one time a well-organized city block with a factory, residential buildings and recreation areas was created in the city for the needs of the community. The exhibition, combining works created by 15 photographers from Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, reveals the everyday life of its representatives through the eye of a camera and allows us to approach their lives with documentary, metaphorical and poetic techniques. The exhibition is complemented by a soundtrack – favorite sound recordings of the people in the photographs and fragments from interviews.

The exhibition was opened with the participation of the visually impaired community members portrayed in the exhibition and the photographers, as well as Svetlana Sproģe, the chairwoman of the central board of the Latvian Society of the Blind, Minister of Welfare Gatis Eglītis and MP Anda Čakša, thus noting the need to stand up for the creation of an inclusive environment at the national level and promote the understanding of decision-makers about the needs that have to be met for people with impaired mobility, vision and hearing. Whereas, the choir “Balsis” under the leadership of Ints Teterovskis performed the Latvian lullaby “Guli, guli, mazais šmuli” with a translation into sign language, which in the context of the exhibition “Invisible Lives” raises the question of the accessibility of art to different groups of society further – not only the public environment can be created like this, but art offer as well.

“The lives of people with impaired sight are invisible in the most direct way. They do not always take place in the dark, because only part of the community is completely blind. Some of partially sighted people live with vision impairment of various degrees, others can perceive the surrounding at specific angles and distances, as well as are able to distinguish lights, volumes or colors. Visual impairments are individual, as are the persons’ daily and particular lives. They are invisible to the “sighted” society as they take place “away from the eyes” – in a narrow, closed environment”, exhibition curator Līga Lindenbauma describes the reality of the exhibition characters.

“Accessibility and openness for everyone are the basic values of s/c Origo that we provide both with thoughtful planning and various support solutions, for example, for people with visual impairments, there are tactile guides and information in Braille, for people with hearing impairments – a possibility to connect to a hearing loop, but for people with mobility impairments – special buttons at the entrances, elevators and no thresholds. We are pleased that our contribution to environment accessibility has been noticed, and we are honored that s/c Origo has become the home of a strong and unique exhibition that allows you to look around not only with your eyes, but also with a more discerning heart,” s/c Origo and b/c Origo One marketing manager Baiba Broka Malinovska says.

The exhibition is free of charge until June 5, 2022. It is available for people with vision, hearing and mobility impairments (more about accessibility in s/c Origo https://origo.lv/amenity-type/pieklusana/ ). The exhibition was created within the framework of the project “Invisible lives” financed by the Creative Europe programme “Culture”, implemented by Rucka Art Foundation in cooperation with the association Kulturanova (Serbia) and the association Art365 (Montenegro). The exhibition is co-financed by the Society Integration Foundation and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, supported by the State Cultural Capital Foundation from the funding of the targeted programme “Kultūr/elpa”. The cooperation partners of the project are the Latvian Society of the Blind and Origo shopping center, supporters – Balta, Tilde, Design Elevator and Solavi.

The exhibition works were created by photographers Boris Abramović (RS), Elīne Buka (LV), Irena Čučković (RS), Aleksandra Drečun (ME), Paulis Jakušonoks (LV), Sara Kecman (RS), Stefan Kosanović (RS), Monta Krūze (LV), Duško Miljanić (ME), Ana Mitrović (ME), Darko Sretic (RS), Eva Strazdiņa (LV), Nada Vojinović (ME), Nicole Lee Zvaigzne (LV), Miloš Zvicer (ME). Exhibition curator – Līga Lindenbauma.

Photos by Kārlis Leilands.

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