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November is the time we, people in Latvia, celebrate our freedom and roots. We asked a few members of #madarateam to share a story of theirs.
My family roots start in the East of Siberia. Divinely beautiful nature, the clear River Amur and the wide variety of rocks – this is the environment my grandparents grew up in. It is no wonder that geology became a profession that fulfilled their spirits and souls. Exciting expeditions, explorations, love towards nature and romanticism was the meaning of their lives. I am sure that I inherited my creative and exploratory nature from my ancestors. Just like they explored the Earth and mountains, I explore every aroma of both wildlife and still life. The object that establishes a bond with my roots is a painting, which depicts a beautiful and mysterious Siberian landscape. The canvas is made of wood from a Siberian forest, but the colors come from various semi-precious mountain stones. When I look at this painting, I feel the fresh and cool air… I sense this painting as a fragrance, and the aromas are like companions, helping me to hear and feel the spirit of my ancestors.
I do not own any things or objects that would bond me with my origins and past. But I strongly feel my roots through the land, through the soil. Through our nature. This image dates back to the year 2001 and was photographed in Kolka, Latvia. Another story is rooted here. Inspired by this very place, 5 years later MÁDARA visual identity was born.
This Zenit film camera belonged to my grandfather. It was very precious to him, and now I use it myself. When I take photographs with my Zenit, I learn to be patient because each photograph is precious and important. When I look through the viewfinder, I feel the smell of the leather case and imagine my grandfather doing the same 30 years ago. It is a bond with my loved ones since we do not contact each other as much due to the everyday rush.
November is a month that takes me back to my roots. When all leaves have fallen down and the skies are gray, I realize there is something deeper that nourishes my soul. My Estonian mother just wrote a book on our family genealogy, finding the roots that reach into the 17th century. My German-origin great grandfather was a renowned entrepreneur in Saint-Petersburg delivering engraved metal and crystal goods to the Tsar family. Hence one of our family treasures is a beautiful crystal bowl. My Latvian grandmother, a teacher and a businesswoman, who retired at 81, taught me how to collect healing herbs and mushrooms in the wild Northern forests. My roots are diverse and spread across countries. In this diversity I find strength and inspiration to live my own story. My Latvian father, a professor of sociology, says that every personality is based on 3 fundamental things – the roots (where we come from), the goals (where we want to go) and continuous reflexion (whether we do the best we can do). One-third of me is firmly rooted in the stories of the past, but two-thirds are all about embracing the uncertainty – ideas, new challenges, opportunities, and inspirations.
Well, you can’t really see it here, but, considering my moving back to Latvia after several years abroad, there was always one picture before my eyes. The picture of my family home. And of memories from my early childhood. I saw myself, playing outside from early morning till late night. Whatever the weather. I remember myself, wallowing in autumn leaves and climbing trees. Freshly picked veggies from our own garden, picking mushrooms with my mom and helping her with cooking afterward. Riding my tricycle bike and shooting with a bow and arrows my father made for me. Dry toilet outdoors, from which I could watch the starry night skies. Sled riding in winter, and crazily frozen pants when I was finally called back home. I always see our house in the background. Which we, together with my parents, are currently restoring so that my future children, and my brother’s and sister’s existing children could have the same memories. And, yes. Our home is called Mārsilas. Just like my favorite tea.