Jaunā Gaita nr. 141, (5) 1982

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JG 141

Much of the material in this issue originated in Australia, and two of the articles have Australian themes: the first, by Aina Vāvere, compares the similar evolution of colonial and exile cultures, using as examples the English and Latvian literatures of Australia. Vāvere describes the four stages of this evolution: in the first, culture is limited to preservation of the forms and content brought from the mother country. In the second stage, some modification of the imported culture takes place, while the third stage is characterized by rejection of the old standards and experimentation to find forms of expression more suited to the new land and new experiences. In the fourth stage, the forms and content of the culture are distinct enough to give it its own identity. Vāvere concludes that Australian literature has reached the fourth stage, while the exile Latvian literature of Australia seems to be in the third stage. Vāvere then asks if it is possible for exile cultures to develop and maintain their identity, for example, in multicultural states such as Canada or Australia. Or will "multiculturalism" be limited to one or two dominant, true, cultures, and various minority groups whose "culture" consists of folk dances and ethnic cooking?

The second article with an Australian theme is "Georgiana", a prose piece by Daina Šķēle. "Georgiana" was an upper-class Englishwoman who emigrated to Australia in 1830, bore her husband five daughters, and died in childbirth at the age of thirty-eight. Her main interest, apart from family, was botany, and she made a valuable contribution to science with her collection of the flora of Australia. Šķēle's piece describes her feelings on reading Georgiana's letters to the English botanist to whom she sent her specimens, and compares Georgiana's short life with her own in Australia and her ancestor's in Latvia.

A third Australian contribution is the cover: a joint effort by Uldis Zemzaris, who lives in Latvia, and H. Norītis of Australia. The cover was designed during Zemzaris' visit to Australia with an exhibition of his work.

Laimonis Mieriņš introduces us to the work of Victor Pream, a ceramicist of Latvian origin living in England and teaching at Ripon College and St. John College in York. Mieriņš discusses the influences on Pream's work: his childhood in a Baptist family in Rīga, his war experiences as a soldier and prisoner-of-war, his teachers Bernard and David Leach.

Nikolajs Bulmanis discusses an exhibition of the work of El Greco recently displayed in Toledo, Ohio, the vibrant and popular ethnographic crafts movement in Latvia and its influence on the fine arts. He also mentions dissenting voices, such as Mārtiņš Zelmenis, who warns against misinterpretation and facile modernization of our folklore, especially the "Dainas", and Jānis Borgs, who warns that the true artistic content of our crafts heritage is not in the surface ornamentation, but lies in the basic qualities of proportion, colour, and form. Bulmanis also includes some thoughts on the future of modern art and the role of criticism, citing an article by Moscow art critic V. Prokofiev which appeared in the Rīga arts newspaper Literatūra un Māksla in September, 1982. The article contains an interesting discussion of developments in Westem and Soviet art, and concludes that both (or are they really one?) streams are in the midst of revolutionary changes. Prokofiev advises critics to avoid the errors of the past by examining these changes with tolerance instead of prejudice.

The visual arts section of this issue is completed with the reproduction of a portrait, by Valdis Kupris of the USA, of Jānis Pauļuks, one of Latvia's most popular painters.

Imants Sakss' column begins with impressions of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who died in 1982 at the age of 50. Gould achieved world fame as an interpreter of Bach, in spite of his eccentricities and his refusal to perform in public concerts after 1964, devoting himself instead to recordings, radio and the occasional television program. Sakss also notes the series of concerts given in Toronto by the Boston-based Latvian folklore group "Kolibri", and the death of Latvian composer Haralds Berino, who lived in Nova Scotia and remained out of the mainstream of Latvian musical life.

Irina Ozoliņa (Australia) contributes her memories of poet Zinaīda Lazda, who worked as a high-school teacher in pre-war Latvia. The poetry section includes work by Lolita Gulbe (Canada), Astrida Stahnke (USA), Lidija Dombrovska (Denmark), Visvaldis Reimanis (USA), Eduards Salna (England), Andris Kārkliņš (USA), and Māris Melgalvs (Latvia). Short prose pieces are contributed by Jānis Širmanis (USA) and Henrijs Moors (USA). Ilmars Krasts looks at the new production of the Sanfrancisco Little Theatre, and Tadeušs Puisāns and Tālis Ķiķauka discuss the future of the Latvian language in exile. Ķiķauka, in his regular column, also mentions the exciting English production of Aspazija's Silver Veil, produced by Baņuta Rubesa and based on the translation by Astrida Stahnke, currently touring North America.

Problems in the Canadian postal system prevented the inclusion of "In This Issue" in JG 140.


Ilze Valdmanis

Jaunā Gaita