The exhibition Estonian Art In Exile opened on Thursday, 2 September in the Great Hall at Kumu, introducing about 250 artworks created by our compatriots in exile. Quite a number of works are seen in Estonia for the first time, as most of them belong to private collections in Sweden, Canada and the USA and are only rarely exhibited.
By the end of World War II, approximately 70,000 people had left their homeland and Estonian cultural centres emerged all over the world. Three main centres had been established by the early 1950s: Stockholm, Toronto and New York. The Kumu display offers an extensive overview of art created in exile in the course of 50 years, from 1944 to 1991.
The press album is available at the digital archive of the museum.
The 70 artists can be divided into four generations: established artists in Estonia before the war (Karin Luts, Eerik Haamer, Ernst Jõesaar, Jaan Grünberg, Endel Kõks, Juhan Nõmmik, Herman Talvik, Eduard Rüga, Erich Pehap and others); artists who began their studies in Estonia, but matured abroad (Juhan Hennoste, Lembit Ränd, Silvia Leitu, Osvald Timmas, Abel Lee, Eugen Kask, Arno Vihalemm, Raoul Lind, Maire Männik, Olev Mikiver, Helmi Herman and others); artists who left Estonia in their childhood or younger years and were educated in their new country of residence (Enno Hallek, Andres Kingissepp, Epp Ojamaa, Merike Patrason Martin, Hardu Keck, Enn Erisalu, Ruth Tulving, Tiit Raid, Mart Org, Kristiina Kauri, Ville Tops, Enda Bardell, Helga Roht Poznanski, Merike Lugus and others), and artists born in exile (Jaan Aare Põldaas, Mark Kalev Kostabi, Elva Palo, Naima Rauam, Uno Hoffmann and others).
Exile presented our compatriots with various challenges, both in their private and professional lives, such as adapting to the new environment, the post-war rapidly changing art world, international modernism, memories or images of homeland. What kind of traces have the challenges presented by destiny left in their art, can be seen in the Great Hall of Kumu until 2 January 2011.
The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the Tartu Art Museum and within the research project of exile art, which was initiated by Kumu in 2007. A richly illustrated 544-page catalogue in Estonian and English will also be published.
Curators of the exhibition and compilers of the catalogue are Kersti Koll (Art Museum of Estonia) and Tiiu Talvistu and Reet Mark (Tartu Art Museum). The exhibition and the catalogue are designed by Tiit Jürna.
The exhibition and the project Estonian Art in Exile is mainly supported by the Erika and Osvald Timmas Memorial Foundation; other supporters include the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Saku Brewery and the mobile operator EMT.