Cyanotype on fabric art object
Sansusī art residency, Latvia

On residency at Sansusī I was working with three community groups of Aknīste: patients from psychiatric hospital, seniors from the social care center and kids from the art school. In my experience leading creative workshops to all of these groups, I attempted to find a unifying element, while observing the different ways of tackling the same creative tasks.

I found one of the ground unifying needs of each group: the need for pleasure and fun. As an illustration, a visual of a pillow came to mind. It is indeed a very mundane everyday object, however, each one of the groups might have a different relationship with it. Initially a symbol of sleep and rest, for the patients and seniors it might be an object of everyday that they might be tired of, whereas for the kids it might be a symbol of pillow fight and late night fairytales.

And that is how the starting point of the art object "Bauda" was found.

  • Year: 2022

  • Materials: reclaimed cotton pillowcase, embroidery thread, pillow stuffing

  • Techniques: cyanotype, xerography

  • Location: Akniste / Garsene, Latvia

  • On show: 10.2022 - 03.2023 at Garsene Castle

In Latvian “pleasure” is translated as “bauda”. Whereas “bauda” in Lithuanian means “a fine”. A word “fine” in English could have a double meaning - as in being "okay" or as in getting a ticket for speeding.

This word play of three languages and an experience of three groups with huge age gaps, started raising some philosophical questions: is it a pleasure or a fine to suffer from mental health difficulties and stay in a hospital? Is it a pleasure or a fine to be old? And if it is a fine - what are seniors or patients guilty of?

There are no answers in this piece and really no allusions to the answers. Just a question and a celebration of all the groups in one art object.

Dedicated to my grandma Elena, the owner of the reclaimed pillowcase.

Pieces created by participants


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