LCCC Dinner Speaker Series

MARCH 11, 2020 

Demystifying the Latvia–Russia Border 


Zile Liepins is a Toronto born Latvian-Canadian documentary photographer & multimedia artist. She holds a MFA with distinction in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. Exhibitions include Latvian Photographers in the Age of Unease (2018) at the LCCC as a part of Contact Photography Festival; Enchanted Forest Presence (2018) and New Works (2018) at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography; and No One Says Anything, Everyone Remembers Everything at Alliance Francaise (2016) Toronto and Ryerson Artspace (2015) as a Featured Exhibition of Contact Photography Festival. Her next exhibition will mount at Laimes Muzejs in Indra, Latvia in April 2020. She currently holds the position of Head of Communications and Design at the Textile Museum of Canada.

Zile will share images and stories from a 2018 photographic journey to Latvia and Russia. With a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, she traveled the full length of the Latvia-Russia border from both sides, with a focus on life in Latgale and Pytalovsky District (Abrene) and NATO’s mission Enhanced Forward Presence.

Latgale is a region in Latvia largely inhabited by ethnic Russians, while the neighbouring Pytalovo district in Russia was a part of Latvia as 'Abrene' from 1920-1944 and was officially ceded to the Russian Federation in a border treaty in 2007.Enhanced Forward Presence is a NATO-allied defense and deterrence military mission in Eastern and Northern Europe to protect and reassure NATO's Eastern European member states of their security. Following Russia's invasion and occupation of Crimea and its War in Donbass, NATO member states agreed at the 2016 Warsaw summit to forward deploy four multinational battalion battle groups to NATO members most at risk of a possible Russian attack or invasion. Canada leads the mission in Latvia, working with Albania, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.