On the 15th of June in Lugano, Switzerland, there was a grand opening of an exposition “Rainis and Aspazija between Latvia and Switzerland” in the new Rainis and Aspazija museum.

In the ceremony – which was organised by the Lugano municipal government – speeches were said by the Latvian Deputy State Secretary of Culture Uldis Zariņš, Lugano city Mayor Marco Barradori, Latvian Ambassador in Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein Veronika Erte and others.

The celebratory atmosphere was further created by the Zurich Latvian choir “Balts” with their sibling choir “choR inteR kultuR”(conductor Lāsma Kuplā) and folkdancers “Ramtai” (leader Jānis Vinklers).

The exposition tells about the time Rainis and Aspazija spent in Castagnola, allowing attendees to learn about their lives through their letters and fragments of Rainis’ book of memories “Castagnola”. Within the context of the poets lives are explored the most important points of interaction between Latvia and Switzerland from 1893 till today. In the exhibition it’s possible to see the original Niklāvs Strunkes illustrations for the works of Rainis and Aspazija, the works these poets created while in exile and attendees can also read “Castagnola in three languages.

When creating this exhibition, a lot of thought was put into making it suitable for different audiences. The challenge was to make it appealing for both a Swiss person, a foreign tourist and a guest from Latvia, because each would have a different perspective and knowledge base about the authors, Latvian history and the relationships between Latvia and Switzerland.

“Rainis and Aspazija between Latvia and Switzerland” was created by the design bureau “H2E”. The lead designer Ingūna Elere wishes visitors “to experience through a personal, spatial sense the loneliness both poets felt in their exile and the grandeur and solace given by Switzerland, its nature and people.”

The Rainis and Aspazija Museum in Castagnola (Piazza C. Cattaneo 1, Lugano) will be open from Monday till Friday, from 8.30 till 16.30. Entry is free. After viewing the exposition, attendees are invited to walk around Rainis’ and Aspazija’s favourite places in Castagnola and its surroundings, using the map available at the museum.

Exposition has been created with the financial aid of Latvia’s Ministry of Culture, it’s being maintained by the Lugano municipality.

Group of Strategic advisers: chairman Pietro Montorfani, Rita Meinerte, Sanita Kossoviča.

Content writers: Vita Matīsa, Gundega Grīnuma, Jānis Šiliņš

Project Manager: Sanita Kossoviča

Executive Secretary: Marie Kraitr

Editor: Rita Meinerte

Scientific Consultant: Jānis Zālītis

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