No One Says Anything, Everyone Remembers Everything

Zile Liepins


This documentary photo and text essay examines everyday life in the transitory political present of Latvia, a country emerging from the remnants of the Soviet Union and adapting to a new European identity, with one eye uneasily fixed on its Russian neighbour. Historically, Latvia has been a perpetually‐occupied territory, but has since declared independence from the USSR in 1991, joined the European Union and NATO in 2004 and then the Eurozone in January 2014. This influence of opposing powers creates a layered and often conflicted national and cultural identity.

No One Says Anything, Everyone Remembers Everything expresses the way individuals in small Latvian communities silently and publicly face each other after privately reconciling trauma. Expanding this social occurrence to the entire country, the title refers to a larger and more difficult history of war, deportation, labour camps, separation, immigration, and torture under the KGB. At the same time, the images emphasize the quiet rhythms of mundane activities, personal trials, and ambiguous landscapes. Shot in Latvia over two years, the work functions as a coded visual language of cultural symbols and personal references that creates a rich portrait of a place and time. 

Curated by Noa Bronstein