Looking North for inspiration and contacts

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 10:45

Laura Stasane. Photo by courtesy of Stasana.

Laura Stasana from Latvian New Theatre Institute has traveled to Norway's northern region to establish contacts between the local artistic communities in her home country, and artists from Stamsund and Tromsø.

It was a journey to facilitate stronger connections between artists in two quite different areas of the Baltic-Nordic region.

Stasana has long been working to link local Latvian artist communities to communities in other countries. The importance of contact between different countries is something she takes for granted.

 - It's what makes art and life more interesting. When you see what is happening in other places, you get a wider perspective on things. The more influences you can integrate, the stronger is the outcome.

Having decided to establish links between northern Norway and Latvia, Tromsø was a natural choice, partly because the town has direct flights to Riga.

But the Latvian also wanted to see how the special conditions in the north affect the work of artists there.

 - I think they feel a little isolated. At least that is what I felt from the conversations I had. So they feel they are in a special situation, but I do not know if they always take it as an advantage.

When you feel isolated, it is easy to doubt your own work, according to Stasana. That doubt is in itself an important reason for keeping in touch with colleagues elsewhere.

The perceived isolation contrasted with how the local artists arranged Stamsund International Theatre Festival, bringing innovative and international performances into a small community.

And also she was fascinated by how many of the artists she met in northern Norway, had ventured to major cultural centers, to study and gather experiences, before returning home.

People Stasana spoke with, said the need to be close to nature was a motivator to return home, it was a necessary factor for their creative work.

 - When you are there, and you see this nature with your own eyes, and you feel it, then you really wonder, how can you not be influenced by it. It is so strong and you are so small there, so it is part of what you do. It’s not that you integrate nature in your work, but I think it is mentally part of you.

There are differences between the artistic communities of the Baltic countries and northern Norway, but there are also differences between groups in the Baltic region, Stasana says.

- People think that since the Baltic countries are so small, so everything is the same, but in reality there are big differences here.

Even the various artistic communities she visited in northern Norway were different, according to Stasana. And it is the differences that make it worthwhile to get to know new places and new people.

Stasana has received support through the Mobility Programme

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