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Last Folio: A Photographic Journey with Yuri Dojc

A photography installation from Slovakia arrives at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils after a worldwide tour of both sides of the Atlantic to cities such as Cambridge, Brussels, New York, Ottawa, Vienna and Rome.  The exhibition opens on January 17 in Daugavpils.

Dojc, a successful commercial photographer, living in Canada since 1969, encountered a Holocaust survivor at his father’s funeral in 1997. Their meeting resulted in his decision to take photographs of the Slovakian survivors, before it was too late. In the course of his journey across Slovakia over a period of nearly a decade, he took more than one hundred and fifty portraits of survivors, recording their stories and their faces. On his travels he also happened upon fragments and buildings that once belonged to the Jewish community. Moved by their beauty despite their state of ruin, he decided to trace and record additional evidence of the now almost completely lost community finally discovering an abandoned school where he found the focus of his journey- forgotten books on dusty shelves, which produced the iconic images seen at the exhibition at the Mark Rothko Art Centre

Dojc followed in the path detailed in his father’s book on the country’s Jewish heritage and began the project that would become Last Folio- of which the exhibition is a part.  It tells a story of what remains of a once vibrant community of Slovak Jews and the world they lived in. His stunning evocative photographs are able not only to ‘tell history, but to make history felt’. Last Folio exhibition will be accompanied by film, produced by Yuri Dojc and Katya Krausova.

Producer of the project, Katya Krausova said, “Yuri and I travelled many roads to small towns and tiny hamlets all over the country, meeting people and finding remnants of lives and fragments of memories. Retracing the experiences of our families, and the worlds in which they lived and died, has been an enormously powerful journey that has been emotional, spiritual, and deeply personal.”

Aleksejs Burunovs, the Head of the Rothko Centre said: „This exhibition is a tribute to the war victims and eternal reminder for the living. It’s remarkable that we host this event in the 70 anniversary of the end of World War II. We do hope it will help our visitors to learn the lesson of History”.

The exhibition, generously supported by both the Slovak and Canadian Embassy in Riga, as well as Epson Canada will remain in the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils until the middle of April from where it continues its journey to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War to the National Library of Germany in Berlin and to the Museum of Tolerance in Moscow.

Event programme: January 12 at 14.30 meeting with the artist Yuri Dojc Producer of the project, Katya Krausova in EU House, Riga (Aspazijas Boulevard 28), January 17 at 14.30 round table discussion and film presentation, at 16.30 the exhibition opening in Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre (Mihaila Street 3).