Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Photo: Margarita Ogoļceva, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
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Flower Smuggler

Series of photographs and documents

Diāna Tamane’s (1986) works are based on personal stories that take shape through the collecting and assembling of her own daily experiences, impressions, habits and memories, as well as those of her relatives. To carry out this anthropological activity, the artist mostly uses a photo and video camera, documenting the protagonists of her stories as well as their living spaces. In several of her projects, she has also used vernacular photography, memorabilia or keepsakes as source material. In the artist’s works, family albums, documents and private correspondence are transformed into catalysts, making it possible to reveal not only touching autobiographical stories but also apt portrayals of society and recent history. Diāna Tamane was born in Riga and currently lives and works in Tartu, Estonia.

This is a story about Tamane’s grandmother, who once became a ‘flower smuggler’. The project consists of flowers photographed by her grandmother—flowers are the main subject of her grandmother’s photo albums—and documents that her grandmother received from the Federal Customs Service of Russia. She was accused of contraband when she crossed the border between Latvia and Russia with two flower pots. The artist’s grandmother had planned to bring the flowers to the cemetery of her grandfather in Abrene. In 1945, the city of Abrene was incorporated into the USSR, and today it is part of the Russian Federation. Survival Kit 10.1 also includes new photographs taken this March on a trip with the artist's grandmother to the resting place of her great-grandfather. Through uncovering the personal experience of one individual, the project demonstrates that historical events and transfers of power can leave lasting consequences and can continue to affect contemporary society.