Maria Kapajeva’s solo exhibition at Latvian Museum of Photography

Image: still from video work 'The Bright Way, Maria Kapajeva



Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga

May 16 – June 30, 2019

Opening: May 16th, 5-7pm

Artist Talk: May 28th, 6pm


Latvian Museum of Photography is pleased to present a solo exhibition of an Estonian artist Maria Kapajeva Dream Is Wonderful, Yet Unclear, which opens on May 16th. The exhibition is part of Riga Photomonth 2019 programme.

This exhibition explores the relationships between collective and personal memories by looking at the community surrounding a textile mill, now closed, of which the artist’s family was a part. The story of one small community is set in the larger context of post-industrial cities worldwide, as they seek new identities. The exhibition depicts a mill filled by powerful rhythms of looms and lively collectives of women workers that, in today’s competitive world seems like a bright and distant dream. Kapajeva focuses on women, with a heightened sensitivity towards social and political matters in post-Soviet culture. As the daughter of a textile designer, she spent her childhood at the mill, drawing fabric patterns and dreaming about the same job her mother had. In the exhibition, she interweaves her mother’s work, her childhood dreams and their failures with the workers’ collective ones to underline the division between personal and collective memories that together form our historical narratives.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the lyrics of March of Enthusiasts, from the Soviet movie The Bright Way (1940), starring Lubov Orlova in the role of a female weaver, who made her ‘Cinderella’ journey from peasant to Stakhanovite, a heroic worker. This line of the song was later censored because of doubt raised by the word ‘unclear’. The idea of a wonderful dream is intended as a common thread throughout the exhibition but so too is the lack of clarity that characterizes our memories of the past.


On Saturday, May 18, at 6 p.m. Latvian Museum of Photography invites you to the Artist talk by Maria Kapajeva chaired by Assistant Professor Maria Gourieva (St.-Petersburg State Institute for Culture, Russia).

The exhibition is supported by Estonian Embassy in Riga

The museum and artist would like to express our special gratitude to Signe Matteus (Deputy of Head of Mission at Estonian Embassy in Riga), Riga Photomonth team, State Culture Capital Foundation, Riga City Council, MagnumNT, FK Magazine, Narva Art Residency, The Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Pieci Ezeri design agency.