Exhibition “Difficult Pasts. Connected Worlds” at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius. Photo by Vika Eksta
Histories and memories of the 20th and 21st centuries in the Baltic States with its different colonialisms are entangled with the uneasy relations between the past and present. How can we acknowledge this history as layered and nuanced? And which methods could help us to address its blind spots and silences as well as solidarities?
In this presentation, Margaret Tali will introduce the transdisciplinary project “Communicating Difficult Pasts” (2019-2024) and focus on its different ways of engaging artists to answer these questions. At the heart of this collaborative project has been creating synergies between humanities scholarship, artistic research and curation in order to learn from each others’ methods and approaches in order to sharpen and enrich our perspectives to history writing. The exhibition “Difficult Pasts. Connected Worlds” co-curated with Ieva Astahovska in its framework at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (2022) and in the Latvian National Museum of Art (2020) presented its results to a broader public. During the lecture, Margaret Tali will introduce some of the works included by Lia Dostlieva and Andrii Dostliev, Jaana Kokko, and Quinsy Gario & Jörgen Gario.
Margaret Tali is an art historian and curator, who works as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Institute of Art History and Visual Culture. Her research interests include exhibition histories, curating difficult heritage, relationships of visual art and handicraft, and histories of the art museum. She holds a PhD from the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam. She is the author of Absence and Difficult Knowledge in Contemporary Art Museums (2018) and co-editor, with Ieva Astahovska, of the Memory Studies special issue Return of Suppressed Memories in Eastern Europe: Locality and Unsilencing Difficult Histories (2/2022). Together with Astahovska she has initiated the project Communicating Difficult Pasts, and as a part of which she co-curated the exhibition Difficult Pasts. Connected Worlds in the Latvian National Museum of Art (2019) and Lithuanian National Gallery of Art (2022).