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find: Visual Arts Latvia

Dzintra Eze - Rozentale  

painter, illustrator, Latvia.

Dzintra grew up in a small town in the west of Latvia, and as a child wanted to be a sculptor. She read about art and sculpture from books in the local library. She chose to study interior design at the art school in Liepaja because it was the only course in the school that enabled her to continue painting and drawing. While she was a student, she had lessons from the Liepaja-known painter, Matiss Zavick, and worked with him in his studio where they often painted the same subject.

After graduating from art school, Dzintra worked full-time - for nine years as an interior designer and then as an exhibition officer in a museum, taking her daughter with her to work until she was old enough to attend school. It has been only since 1990 that she has sold her work freely, because up until that time government officials decided who could exhibit what and where. Occasionally her nude studies, portraits and landscapes were exhibited. Currently she paints or draws every few days and sells her work to tourists, while supporting herself as an art teacher. For her there is little difference in teaching art now and when she taught it under communism, as art is still considered an extra activity, where most pupils only see her for one hour a week.

At present, a current theme in her work is flower studies in pastel on a black background. These are a memorial to her husband, who was killed in an accident 15 years ago; the black is a reminder of difficult times. Between 1990 and 1992, Dzintra illustrated four children's books. This is her real love, as this medium is a way for her to use her imagination. Often she tried to incorporate puns or references to society in her illustrations, as well as to make them enjoyable. For example, until 1990 artists were not allowed to use white next to red because these are the colours of the Latvian flag, so she painted one white button and one red button in an illustration about children playing with large telephones. In drawing such little children with the telephones, her aim was to show that the telephones were real and that the children were fantasy! However, most of the ´messages´ in her work concern caring, or having respect, for the environment. One illustration shows little boys carrying cans of country air back home to the city in their suitcases. Generally she has had complete freedom with her illustrations, although the publisher always chose the story to be illustrated.

  • Artist Profile: Arts Dialogue, December 1997
  • Illustration: drawing, BAFA newsletter, September 1994

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