Institutional Diaries: LCCA #2


Reflection on the exhibition “All’s Good Between Us”
Andra Silapētere

The work with the exhibition started in April 2023 with planning the new commissions and public program events. The exhibition and its accompanying program took place at 60A-21 Dzirnavu Street in a flat in a residential house in the center of Riga city. The exhibition was open to the audience from 14th February to 4th April and through the interpretations of various generations of artists, researchers and curators, the project invited to think beyond the idea of identity as something permanent and stable, addressing stigma and fear of otherness. The exhibition brought gender and queer discourses into interaction with socio-political contexts in society, identifying cracks between identities, minorities and different generations. At the same time, the project questioned how both individual and LGBTQ+ community histories are narrated and documented, and how ingrained assumptions normalize and justify violence and intolerance.

While curating the exhibition important became that it shouldn’t be static, but that artworks are instead active and invite people to interact in various forms. After conversations with artists discussing their ideas of 8 exhibited artworks 4 were interactive inviting visitors to share their experiences or indulge in contemplation and meditation. This turned out to be a successful way of communicating the exhibition topic to the audience both the LGBTQ+ community and the “regular” exhibition visitor. For instance, one such work was a collaboration between designer Rūta Jumīte and education program curator Ieva Laube. They created a “Story living room” that in a social action form invited to write and document LGBTQ+ histories in Latvia. It resulted in many testimonies that were later handed to the LGBT association in Riga.


Important for the exhibition was the choice of the space. The LCCA is a nomadic institution that doesn’t have a permanent space, meaning that for each project and exhibition, a venue must be found threw collaborators, but it also offers creative and different strategies. Each project can inhabit a particular and specifically designed place for it. For the “Alls Good Between Us” exhibition, the conceptual idea was to make it in the flat, which would on one hand serve as a safe space for the community, but on the other hand, would create the desired intimate atmosphere, but as well would also be part of a bigger understanding of our shared space and living environment. Nevertheless, to fulfil the idea and find a suitable flat we had to overcome several challenges that included: accessibility (a large proportion of the buildings in the Riga centre doesn’t have elevators), community (people living in the building should agree that for a while their living space becomes (partly) public), rent (affordable rent for culture organization), owner of the place wouldn’t have anything against the main topic of the project. The search for the space took 6 months, meeting different owners and seeing places. Finally, an appropriate match was found in a flat on Dzirnavu Street 60A-21. 


Important nerve to the exhibition was a public program to open and broaden the discussion. It invited artists, researchers, and curators from the Baltic region as well as other countries to share their knowledge and strategies when mediating on questions of queerness, gender, and sexuality. For instance, the opening event of the public program was two workshops by Taka Taka, a dragtivist, educator, and independent curator, who activated drag as an act of social engagement and turned to issues of sex education and its meaning for both the LGBTQIA+ community as well as broader society. One of the biggest program’s events was a symposium gathering seven speakers from the Baltic states as well as Spane. Symposium concentrated on questions:  how do we currently interpret different issues of queer history in the region, how queer culture might be documented in the present and the future, and how to consider the engagement of the past with the present through a queer perspective?

All public program events (screenings, discussions, workshops) were well attended and engaged a lot of people in the discussion, particularly the LGBTQ+ community in Riga. It turned out that a lot of community members found a place to come regularly, not only to revisit the exhibition but where to meet other community members to discuss and share experiences.

Art mediators

As a test to talk about the exhibition topics and the public program, we initiated a program where seniors from the LCCA Art Mediator program and participants from the LCCA Youth program worked together to meditate and discuss exhibition stories. This process was initiated firstly because the exhibition wanted to identify the gaps between the generations and if the conversation is possible to foster the necessity to think about more sustainable living together today and in the future. The exhibition lasted for two months and each day in the space there were two persons – one from the Art Mediator program and one from the Youth program. Their primary task was to take care of the space and welcome visitors, but they were also encouraged to discuss exhibition topics among themselves and through this process help visitors to find connections between different artworks, stories and narratives. This not only stimulated multiple discussions between LCCA program participants but also helped to find different ways how to tell the complex stories of LGBTQ+ community including different age people and their perspectives. It opened independent reflections and discoveries as well as expanding the notions about contemporary art and reaching of a wider audience.

Image: All’s Good Between Us, credits: Ingur Bajars