On December 12, the society "Shelter" Safe House"" invited international protection persons to the final event of the cultural canon, this time focusing on Riga and performing arts by visiting and having a closer look at the Latvian National Theatre, the Latvian state founding place.
International protection persons from Russia, Belarus, Afghanistan and Ukraine started the day with a tour to the Old Town, visiting the main central attractions. It was an exceptionally white day, it was snowing, so the participants of the tour were happy to get to the lee of the highest point of Bastejkalns, where the leader of the tour, Ramona Liepina, invited everyone to take out one of the Angel cards created by a Ukrainian artist and share their feelings and associations that the particular card symbolises in their life. Most of those present admitted that they see light and hope for the future.
Later in the day, the participants went to a completely different district of Riga – the premises of the youth creative association "Trepes" on Viskalu street, where each of the participants had an opportunity to take part in various creative workshops of Latvian winter traditions – candle casting, soap making and holiday star creation. Everyone could choose the creative workshop of their interest – one or all 3. Almost all participants were involved in such activities for the first time. One of the participants admitted that for the first time in his life he had such an opportunity to enjoy the variety of essential oil scents, so he emphasised that it was a very special creative workshop, letting to forget all everyday problems, being here and now.
Most of those present arrived in Latvia quite recently. In order to get an insight into life in Latvia, employment opportunities, volunteer work, people, domestic activities and to hear what would be worth considering from a person who has been living in Latvia for a long time, Palina Burko from Belarus, who received refugee status in Latvia and has been involved in several volunteer organizations, including the society "Shelter "Safe House"" was invited to a joint conversation. Palina shared her integration story to inspire others. Palina received a number of questions from those present, and the discussion developed both about politics and the opportunities provided by Latvia, as well as Latvian guys.
After a recuperating coffee break with buns and warm drinks, all participants were taken to the Latvian National Theatre by bus. The building which has been passed by quite often this time is a special stopping point. At the theatre, the group is welcomed by actor Ivars Klavinsky, who is the group`s accompanying person tonight to enter even the most secret theatre chambers. All participants were surprised to learn that this building was an architectural and artistic monument of national importance. Also, the fact that the Latvian state was founded in this place caused very special feelings among the participants of the tour. All those present were behind the scenes of the theatre for the first time – on the basement floor, in workshops where props for performances are made, in tailoring workshops, etc. Everyone had the opportunity to walk around the theatre premises, halls, foyer. Exploring the 1st floor foyer, some of the participants recognised the actor portraits on the walls because they had seen these actors in various Russian films. The participants admitted that they would like to attend a performance of this theatre.
This was the final event designed to explore the cultural canon. As a part of the project, 7 events of cultural canons have taken place – Riga architecture and design photo rally, exploring the traditions of Latvian folklore – folk songs, exploring folk traditions – traditions of baking bread in the Latgalian style, exploring the history of cinema and transforming into movie characters in the Preili doll museum, exploring the canon of visual art by visiting the Latvian National Museum of Art and the Vakarbulli Sculpture Park, the music canon by visiting the music city of Liepaja and performing arts by visiting the Latvian National Theatre.
Since September 1, 2020, 227 participants have been involved in cultural canon activities.
Support Actions for Persons Under International Protection III project is implemented withthe support of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and is co-financed by the European Union. Grant agreement No. PMIF/9/2020/3/02