A new major artwork, “Latvian Flag” was unveiled on May 10 in the Humanities and Social Sciences Reading Room of the National Library of Latvia (NLL). The artwork has been presented to the library by the Georgian-American artist David Datuna, who has donated it in honour of the 97th anniversary of Latvia’s independence. “Latvian Flag” will remain on permanent display at the library. The unveiling ceremony was attended by Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis, Georgia’s Ambassador to Latvia, Teimuraz Janjalia, and the United States Ambassador to Latvia, Nancy Bikoff Pettit.
“Today we are receiving a very special gift,” President Vējonis said. “We exhibit a work of art in which our friend honours us, our country, and one of our national symbols – the flag.” The president thanked Mr Datuna for the gift. He went on to point out that the gift allows us to look beyond everyday life and see ourselves in a global context, thus also being able to express gratitude for friendship and to appreciate friends. Mr Vējonis particularly welcomed the fact that the flag that has been presented to Latvia will be available for viewing at the NLL.
David Datuna sent a written message to the participants at the event: “It was a real honour to work with the Latvian flag. It was an interesting learning process, which has allowed me to learn more about your wonderful country and its people, as well as your efforts to move forward and to be free and independent. I am grateful to the Latvian people that they have allowed me to touch their souls and thus become a part of your country. I express my deep gratitude to the president and the director of the library personally.”
“We are pleased that world-renowned foreign artists are promoting and honouring Latvian history, our culture and our national symbols,” says NLL director Andris Vilks. “This gift is a unique example, affirming that artistic expression transcends borders and brings together countries and societies, as well as cultures. The National Library of Latvia will make sure that everyone becomes aware of this fact, both visitors to the library and people all around the world.”
David Datuna presented the work to President Vējonis in November 2015 at the opening of the ART RIGA international art festival. At the initiative of the Presidential Chancellery, the artwork has been entrusted to the NLL.
“Latvian Flag” is based on the use of positive and negative optical lenses placed over a collage of images of important events, places and people in Latvia’s history and the country’s struggle for national freedom.
Artist David Datuna was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, on February 10, 1974, and currently lives and works in New York. He has attracted widespread attention for his “Viewpoints of Millions” series of artworks, which explore symbols of national identity and their meanings.
The gift has been presented with the involvement of the organisers of the ART RIGA international art festival, Gaļina Maksimova and Dags Vidulejs.