By Roxi Pop
By Roxi Pop
‘Proud Women of Africa’ ongoing project by Julia Gunther:
Life of this part of my family — my father’s siblings and numerous cousins and nephews — has not changed for centuries in that remote area surrounded with pristine wilderness. Modern civilization penetrates slowly and fragmentarily in there, it is intricately woven into the local way of life. The closest town is 300 km away, and the transport connection functions only in winter time. Local and family legends and traditions are still mighty in the settlement.
By Elena Anosova
The series “Sit Silently” examines the signs of time in the rites of subcultures surrounding the capital of Latvia, Riga. It captures the places where “modern Europe” meets the elements of the Soviet times, which conflict and overlap at the same time. These overlapping elements appear creatively in interiors, exteriors, portraits and still-life images depicting the everyday and leisurely pastimes.
The pictures capture the author’s search for a slower time zone that contains more vivid and open expressions, as well as a sense of home and creativity of daily routines beyond the usual urban experience.
The series is also an author’s journey of recreation—escaping from “focus” and looking for her own (Latvian) identity or core, while admiring peripheral moments with their own significance, values and feeling. If, for example, one looks from the East, Kengarags is on the periphery of Riga, Latgale is the periphery of Latvia, and Latvia is the periphery of Europe.
The series’ title is an abbreviation of a piece from “Google Poetics” and consists of phrases that are popularly searched on internet and are associated with sitting: “Sit silently /sit silently doing nothing / we sit silently and watch the world / we sit silently and watch.”
This reminds me of a passage from Franz Kafka:
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”