Latvian-Canadian Art Exhibition | XIV Latvian Song Festival in Canada
July 3-6, 2014
Opening Reception: July 3, 3:00 – 4:00pm
The Latvian Song Festival has been celebrated in Canada for over fifty years, continuing Latvian traditions in song and the arts. The festival exhibition of fine art is an intrinsic component of this cultural event. This juried exhibition of contemporary Canadian-Latvian artists’ work may be viewed as the echo and spirit of their past cultural heritage in modern-day Canada. Latvian-Canadians, who settled in south western Ontario and other parts of Canada have generated an artistic community grateful for Canadian freedom and the many opportunities to contribute in our open society. This exhibition highlights the diversity and creativity of our artists.
Valda Oestreicher, Lilies, 2 Pomegranates, 2011, Oil on Canvas About the Latvian Song Festival in Canada: The Latvian Song Festival dates back to 1873 and since then has been held every five years in Latvia. The song festival in Latvia flourished during Latvia’s years of independence beginning in 1918 and endured the Soviet occupation during which time the song festivals were used to promote “internationalism” and communism, although at heart they were a celebration of Latvian identity. The Song Festival tradition became a political force between 1987 and 1991 as the Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians asserted their right to sovereignty against the Soviet regime in what is now called the Singing Revolution. In 2003 the Latvian Song and Dance Festival was included in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Heritage as an outstanding example of musical events. Today Latvian Song Festivals are held in many countries where Latvians reside. The first Latvian Song Festival in Canada was held in 1953 in Toronto due to the largest concentration of Latvian-Canadians in Canada. A total of 12 festivals every 4 or 5 years were held there until 2009 when the festival was held outside of Toronto for the first time, in Hamilton. This city was chosen for a number of reasons but mainly because all the facilities are virtually “under one roof”. The XIII Latvian Song Festival in Canada, held in Hamilton in 2009 featured 25 events and attracted approximately 5000 people from Canada, the USA, Latvia, other European countries and as far away as Australia. It was such a success that it was awarded the Tourism Hamilton Award of Excellence in the Large Event or Festival category in 2010 and one of the members of the organizing committee received the Volunteer of the Year Award. At the general meeting of the Latvian Song Festival Association in 2011 Hamilton was once again chosen to host the next festival, in 2014. While maintaining the original name of the Latvian Song Festival, it has evolved into a multi facetted event which now includes all visual and performing arts. This summer’s four day festival will offer concerts, folk dance and theatrical performances, a folk costume show, literary readings, a film series, a fine art exhibition and a folk art exhibit. There will be various social get-togethers for all age groups including a cabaret evening, dances and a Festival Ball. The Sheraton Hotel will be the hub of the festival. It will house the information centre, the very popular arts and crafts marketplace, the folk art and other exhibits and in general will serve as the central meeting place for visitors. The plaza level area outside the Sheraton will host daily children’s activities and outdoor performances for festival attendees and the local community. With its vibrant Latvian-Canadian community hosting the festival, Hamilton offers first class venues in the centre of town and a gracious welcome in a multi-cultural city in the heart of Ontario.