Kim? Contemporary Art Centre
“Cheap Destinations” by Gundega Strauberga and Ieva Jakuša

From January 19 to February 25, Kim? Contemporary Art Centre will be showing three exhibitions by Open Call 2023 winners. Kim? Open Call is an annual competition for emerging artists, artist collectives, and curators, and the winners have the opportunity to realize an exhibition at Kim? exhibition halls.


Opening on January 18, 6 pm-9 pm.


Cheap Destinations looks at the identity of Riga as a tourist destination from two contrasting perspectives: through the prisms of foreign low-budget airlines and local branding techniques. The project highlights the differences between marketing approaches taken by those with an outside perspective and others linked to Latvian cultural heritage. For example, Ryanair’s sales strategy for Riga goes no further than offering low fares and a guide to its nightlife. This prism contrasts with what the city actually has to offer, its traditional culture and high-quality craft products in the souvenir shops, but also the inflation within Latvia. That’s why Cheap Destinations looks at the role and influence of crafts and culture in the contemporary tourism industry.


Through manipulated traditional Latvian souvenir products, the project provides an insight into the complexity of cultural representation. It questions the conversion of heritage into products, inviting reflection on the authenticity of cultural artefacts and traditions. The interplay between the use of various symbols in commercial crafts and the preservation of cultural roots invites visitors to evaluate the commercial appeal of traditions. The designer duo wants to play on the meaning of the word “cheap” and to present it as a notion that reflects more than just prices. It is a way of looking at the world, whether at international borders or marketing strategies.


The project idea was developed in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, and the Geo-Design exhibition platform, which explores the social, economic, territorial, and geopolitical forces shaping design today. About Van Abbemuseum.


Gundega Strauberga and Ieva Jakuša graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2020. Alongside developing their own practices, they have joined forces to develop several projects in which Gundega’s visual approach to narrative-building is reinforced by Ieva’s critical perspective and research skills, challenging and complementing each other. Their works have been presented at Europe’s most important design events, such as the Dutch and Milan design weeks, and they have received awards in various competitions, including the Creative Industries Fund in the Netherlands. They both recently started master’s studies at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, where they are focusing on the potential of photography in society and non-linear narrative forms.


Supported by:
Ministry of Culture, State Culture Capital Foundation, Absolut, Valmiermuižas alus.