Photo Exhibition “Remembering Life” by Inta Ruka

Photography exhibition “Remembering Life” featuring works by photographer Inta Ruka is on exhibited at the museum from May 14, 2022.
The exhibition features black and white portraits of people who were in war, fled from war horrors, or were in situations that threatened their lives and they agreed to talk about their fears, choice and prowess. They are World War II witnesses, refugees and people who have fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, or another country.
The author became interested in this topic after the invitation to participate in the exhibition “A Bigger Peace, A Smaller Peace”. Then the idea came to continue to photograph and listen to people who have participated in different wars or have been in situations that were life-threatening or they have had to make a significant decision that is related to one’s or another’s survival. This is the second photo series on the theme of war, the first series was about women who participated in the war in 1939 in Finland.
Inta Ruka admitted that when she started working on the project, she even did not think that she might meet Argentine revolutionaries, for example, but people seemed to have found themselves. Mostly people were met and photographed in Sweden and Latvia. The author remembers that during taking the photographs she was taken over and influenced by the stories of these people because they had so much humanity and emotions. War often does not give a choice, you receive a summons and go to war, but peacekeepers voluntarily choose to go to war, so that others may live. “Listening to these stories, I had to think – how would I act, what would matter to me, whether I would be ready to die, so that others could live, what my decisions would be in such difficult situations. I admire the courage of people,” says I. Ruka.
Inta Ruka (1958) is a Latvian photographer; she has studied photography at VEF photography studio and photo studio “Ogre”. As her most important teacher I. Ruka considers the photographer Egons Spuris, and she has learned a lot from the photographer and teacher Andrejs Grants. In 1983, the first portraits of people from the neighbourhood of the Balvi Parish were made, and later compiled in the photography series “My Country People” (1983-1998); later the book with the same title was published. I. Ruka created photography series “People I happened to meet” (1999-2004) and “Amalias Street 5a” (2004-2008), in 2008, a book was also published. In 2003, I. Ruka and E. Spuris published the book “Photographs” devoted to Riga and its inhabitants, in 2008 – the book “Amalias Street 5a”. Swedish television has recognized I. Ruka as “one of Europe’s most prominent documentary photographers”, her exhibitions have gained international recognition, a number of them took place in Sweden, including “You and me” (Fotografiska, Stockholm, 2013), “Daina’s Life” (at Sune Jonsson Center for Documentary Photography in Umeå, 2014), “People I Know” (Abecita Art Museum, 2018). I. Ruka had more than 20 solo exhibitions and she has participated in more than 100 group exhibitions all over the world. The artist is a laureate of the “Spidola Award” (1999) and the Artist’s Union of Latvia awarded her the “Prize of the Year 2003”. Inta Ruka’s works got into the photo museums in Lausanne, Odense, private collections in France, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, etc. Two documentary films about her were also featured – “Photo-Inta Ruka”, “The Photographer from Riga”.