The Nua Journal

Nua Collective Unveils Debut Physical Exhibition, “Blackout,” at Jelgava’s Old Town House

Photographs: Jurijs Kiseļovs

On Saturday December 9th, the very first physical exhibition by Nua Collective was launched in the beautiful and historic Old Town House in Jelgava, Latvia. Distinguished guests included Ambassador of Ireland to Latvia Eimear Friel, Jelgava City Council Chairman Andris Rāviņš, Director of the Department of Social Integration of the Ministry of Culture Jelena Šaicāne, Chairperson of the Board, Irish Latvian Chamber of Commerce, Ilze Čakstiņa, Head of the Jelgava Regional Tourism Center Ilva Grasmane, Nua Collective artist Katrīna Tračuma and Nua Collective director Eamonn B. Shanahan and the wonderful local community of Jelgava who graced the occasion. 

Founded in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, Nua Collective set out with a vision to foster collaboration among professional artists, offering a platform to share their work and cultivate international connections and exposure. The “Blackout” exhibition not only marks a significant milestone as our inaugural physical showcase but also heralds the launch of the BLACKOUT international tour, with planned stops in Estonia, Paris, Scotland, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the USA (tour details available at www.nuacollective.ie/blackout).

Presenting the works of 13 Nua Collective artists, the Blackout series looks at climate change through a particular lens—blackout. Or the loss of self security that comes from our reliance on unreliable energy. The works wrestle with our human responses to the insecurity inflicted by the anthropomorphic blackout.

Today, seeing that we will be talking about energy, about energy problems, I would like to say that energy really begins in each of us. Therefore, I would like this energy, which is both in us and in our fellow human beings, to be used for the creation of positivity. We also cannot forgo mentioning  today what is happening with our neighbors, what is happening in Russia – that Russia is attacking Ukraine as an aggressor, and that is bad energy. And with that – especially when talking about such an exhibition during this Christmas season – I want to say a big thank you to both the artists and the Irish ambassador for the opportunity to see today how the world looks at things.

Andris Raviņš, Jelgava City Mayor

Today we are talking about climate change, about energy challenges, about challenges that cannot be solved without the cooperation of states, municipalities, and each and every one of us. I will allow myself to quote Mr. Rāviņš, that energy begins within each and every one of us. The state, local government and artists can create an environment so that each one of us as an individual can make a decision on how to act. And art, especially that of artists with their contemporary perspective – their works do not require translation, they cannot force us to change our opinion. Thank you to Ireland for the opportunity to see their diverse culture. May there be new challenges, artistic challenges, creative challenges!

Jeļena Šaicāne, Director of the Department of Social Integration of the Ministry of Culture

There are lots of fantastic relationships being built between Irish and Latvian people and they’re what we should celebrate because Irish people, we understand what it’s like to leave our country and to go and make our way in the world and I think Latvians understand that too. And seeing an exhibition like this come together because of both of you and all the other artists that you’ve brought together in the collective is an absolute perfect symbol of that relationship, of bringing people together, of creating something new, of looking at the challenges in the world and making something from it and making something positive to make us think.

Eimear Friel, Ambassador of Ireland to Latvia

The artists of the Nua collective direct our attention to the growing concerns of climate change and the energy crisis. Therefore, I wish that this exhibition inspires and encourages us all not to be afraid to take bold steps towards a more sustainable and harmonious future.

Ilga Grasmane, Head of the Jelgava Regional Tourism Center

As we embark on this international journey, Nua Collective invites art enthusiasts and supporters to explore more about our mission to Love Art and Support Artists at www.nuacollective.ie. Your support is integral to the success of our endeavours.

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