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  • Writer's pictureRuta Saksens Kalmane

Online Article On The Latvians in The Netherlands Website

On April 19, 2023, the website for Latvians in the Netherlands published an article about the exhibition ‘The Bush Monster’ on their website

The feature is available online in Latvian from:

Translation from Latvian to English available below:

Exhibition ‘The Bush Monster’ for adults and children’

Until April 28, at the culture house EGW (Kulturhus EGW) in Epe, you can visit the exhibition "The Bush Monster / Het Struikmonster" developed by the Latvian writer, artist and photographer Ruta Saksens Kalmane who lives in the Netherlands.

About the project "The Bush Monster"

The Bush Monster is a photographically illustrated children's story inspired by Ruta's son and nature in her garden in the Dutch forest region The Veluwe. This project tells an unusual story about a bush monster who is used to hunting creatures that are different from others and chooses a wooden reindeer as his next target.

As a mother of a child who has two nationalities and is raised in multiple languages makes her wonder if he in future is a potential target to be made fun of by other local children due to his different cultural background. Bullying happens across all ages, to children and adults alike. People who are bullied often feel unhappy, scared and hurt. Quite often the person being bullied suffers in silence and feels lonely.

This unique story can serve as a starting point for an in-depth discussion between an adult and a child about topics such as bullying, being different from others, equality, empathy, tolerance and forgiveness.

'The Bush Monster' is a conceptual continuation of the rhyming story 'What happens to leaves when they fall off trees?' (the story in English can be found here) and photographically illustrates a story with nature photography, highlighting arbitrary connections in nature that lead to new meanings by combining, cropping, adjusting, rearranging, changeing colour and mirroring digital images to achieve unusual combinations which the viewer can decipher together with the complementing textual information.

Besides digital photographic images, the project includes also work done with other photographic techniques such as a pinhole body cap on a digital camera and reverse lens on a digital camera, as well as it includes work from other mediums like handmade paper, organic matter and a sound track,

In addition to digital photos, the project also includes works created with alternative photographic methods, such as the use of a punctured digital camera body cap and reversed digital camera lens technique, as well as works from other media such as handmade paper, organic material and included sound track, allowing the playfulness and experimentation to further enrich the project, giving children the opportunity to get to know the works, while actively involving the visual sense in combination with the written text, as well as the auditory and tactile senses, offering more complex engagement.

The project was developed as Final Major Project for Falmouth University's MA in Photography. The original language of the story is English. You can get acquainted with the story by watching the video of the presentation of a handmade book here, and the exhibition booklet can be found here.

About Ruta Sakens Kalmane

Writer, artist and photographer Ruta Saksens Kalmane was born in Riga in 1987, but since 2013 she lives in the Netherlands.

Ruta's previous research of the language of visual advertisements for the BA English Linguistics study and the research of text visualisation tools for the MA English linguisticsstudy, both from the University of Latvia, formed the basis of her interests in visualstudies. Having followed introductory courses in Graphic Design of Advertisements and in Photography, Ruta followed her dream to develop herself artistically and in early 2021 joined the MA Photography course of the Falmouth University which will be completed in May 2023.

Ruta's attention in photography focuses on nature subjects, seeking ways to visually represent random connections in nature. Her latest project, The Bush Monster, is a photographically illustrated story for children that touches on themes such as bullying, being different, equality, empathy, tolerance and forgiveness.

Ruta’s works have been included in such exhibitions as the Collective heARTs virtual world art exhibition (2021) and #LANDINGS2021 (2021) sub-exhibitions Human-Nature Bond, Self-server and (In)Visible, the art work exhibition of young Latvian artists in the Netherlands organised by the Latvian Embassy in the Netherlands in the Hague (2022),as well as the personal exhibition "The Bush Monster / Het Struikmonster" at the event center Kulturhus EGW in Epe in the Netherlands (April 2023), and in addition, in June 2023, Ruta's work will be included in the Expo Metro Barcelona art show in Barcelona, Spain.

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