I visited Latvia recently because my friend the Australian artist of Latvian descent , Imants Tillers, was honoured with a most beautiful retrospective show at the National Museum of Art in Riga.
Imants with one of his extraordinary paintings, this one entitled ‘Riga’
While in Riga I had time to explore the city
• the old zeppelin hangers where Riga’s central market is held
• I was very impressed with the fish market, particularly with the great variety of dried fish
• preserved sardienes
• smoked fish that looked as if it had been dipped in gold
• of course also fresh fish like perch, sole and sturgeon
• it was cherry season…
• all these fresh herbs reminded me of the Tajrish market in Teheran
• wild blueberries and pale rasberries were a seasonal speciality
• in every park there was music and singing
• I had the great good luck to be there for their amazing Songfest. Every four years it is staged with an enormous choir of about 15,000 singers in an arena in the forest. Singing is a national passion for Latvians. This year was the 100 year anniversary of their declaration of independence so it was particularly special.
• It was the most moving and extraordinarily beautiful spectacle ! The singers all wore traditional dress, many crowned with wreaths of fresh flowers and leaves.
• two beautiful choir singers in their costumes and wreaths.