Egils Levits
Valsts prezidenta Egila Levita uzruna izstādes “Rihards Zariņš. Ko Latvijas meži šalc” atklāšanā Latvijas Nacionālajā mākslas muzejā

Dear friends of art, history, Latvianness and national aspirations, thank you!

This exhibition has really struck a chord with me. I took a quick stroll through the exhibition before the official opening and decided to return once I have a little more time to have a closer look at it without the hurry.

As Madam Lāce emphasised, Rihards Zariņš was a man of many talents, a multi-faceted genius. As for his bad temper that you mentioned, I think it is just a little, peculiar quirk.

Let me stress that a state is an abstract concept and entity, and every state must have its visual attributes. These attributes include, for example, architecture: we all recognise school and hospital buildings erected in 1920s and 1930s. Those distinct red brick buildings. Visual attributes of our state also include banknotes, securities and coat of arms or designs created by Rihards Zariņš at the dawn of Tsarist Empire. Moreover, these visual attributes of the state also play a practical role. Later he used his talent to serve Latvia. His interests did not end with visual attributes of the state. He was an avid enthusiast of Latvianness who explored and collected national costumes. He was asked to create a new visual identity of the new state, the state of Latvia. What did he draw his inspiration from? From Latvian national culture. We can vividly see his interpretation of culture in his statehood-themed art.

I would like to say a big thank you to you, Madam Lāce, and the whole team behind the exhibition. Everyone who worked hard on the concept and collected archive materials from various sources to create a story of Rihards Zariņš’ life, giving us an opportunity to have a glimpse of and admire his creative genius. He is a true genius who deserves praise. He put his many talents to good use for the state of Latvia.

Enjoy the exhibition. Take time to immerse yourself in his art and soak it up. It is really worth it. Thank you!

03.07.2020. Valsts prezidents Egils Levits piedalās izstādes “Rihards Zariņš. Ko Latvijas meži šalc” atklāšanā Latvijas Nacionālajā mākslas muzejā