The International Latgale Graphic Art Symposium has developed into a fine tradition that draws graphic artists to Daugavpils. Having become a meeting place, a discussion forum and stimulating creative environment in the cultural landscape of Latgale, it attracts Latvian and international graphic artists with similar and opposing views on the use of their preferred medium to create a shared story of the present, highlighting the things that matter here and now, especially those that may appear matter-of-fact and slip under the radar in the hectic rhythm of today.
The initiative was launched nine years ago by Art Teachers’ Association in cooperation with the Chamber of Graphic Art and with valued support from Latgale Regional Development Agency and State Culture Capital Foundation. The First Latgale Graphic Art Symposium was held on 10 to 13 October 2012. From 2013 onwards, it has been organised under the auspices of Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre within its international residency programme, which asserts its sustainability, global repute and standing among the many artistic processes of today.
The symposium has had specific thematic emphases, mostly focusing on the city of Daugavpils and its surroundings and inviting the artists to capture the unique atmosphere of Daugavpils Fortress. For example, the third symposium explored the trade of the apothecary, encouraging the artists to reflect on this ancient profession and linking the symposium to Mark Rothko, whose father was a pharmacist.
Certainly, success of the symposium depends on the multiple perspectives of its Latvian and international participants and on the transfer of these different outlooks onto graphic sheets that tell stories of their authors’ experiences in Daugavpils, of what they saw and felt here.
The 2020 symposium brought together ten outstanding graphic artists from nine countries: Víctor Manuel Hernández Castillo (Mexico), Irena Lawruszko (Ukraine), Piotr Skowron (Poland), Imants Haņeckis (Latvia), Elisa Pellizzari (Italy), Jevgenija Jones (Lithuania), Lorenzo Davitti (Italy), Kalli Kalde (Estonia), Ioannis Anastasiou (Greece) and Elizabeth Rose (USA).
The symposium enabled these artists to observe Daugavpils and reflect on their experiences here, meet with local artists in workshops and presentations, and exhibit their own creative outputs in techniques such as letterpress, intaglio and flat print. Through all these means, participants of the symposium created mementoes of the present for the history of the future.