An exhibition that delves into the abandoned remnants of Latvia’s Soviet past.

In 2014, I made an exhibition titledGhosts,” in which I documented the abandoned places in Latvia, focusing on the Soviet “heritage”. Through a series of photographs, I sought to capture the eerie beauty of these forgotten structures, which are echoes from the past, bearing witness to history.

However, in February 2022, these ghostly remnants seemed to awaken once again. Dust-covered Soviet posters depicting the looming threat of nuclear war suddenly resonated with the events unfolding in Ukraine. It compelled me to revisit the content of my previous exhibition through a different lens, acknowledging that these shadows of the past have never truly faded away.

“The Haunting Heritage” offers a perspective on these relics as remnants of a repressive period. The exhibition showcases abandoned structures — bomb and fallout shelters, factories, military bunkers, and ballistic nuclear missile launch sites. These photographs were taken from 2009 to 2014. Some have been exhibited in the “Ghosts” series, while others are previously mostly unpublished images featuring Soviet propaganda posters and other elements specific to that era. As an atmospheric addition to the exhibition, a slideshow with more abandoned soviet heritage photos and the process of urban exploration accompanies the photographs. Through these photographs I invite you to reflect on the threat of war and the impact of occupation, drawing attention to the present by examining the ghosts of the past.
The Baltic states, with their collective memory of the Soviet occupation, have witnessed the devastating consequences of conflict with Russia. In the wake of the full-scale war in Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have emerged as vocal critics of Russian imperialistic ambitions, passionately urging Western powers to ramp up their support to Ukraine’s existential fight.

“The Haunting Heritage” urges us to confront the past, cherish the present, and aspire to a future free from the burdens of war and occupation.

The exhibition opened on the 11th of August 2023 at Kuusisto Art Manor (Kuusiston Taidekartano) in Kaarina (near Turku.), Finland, and was on display until the 10th of September 2023.

The exhibition was supported by the Embassy of Latvia in Finland.

Photos with ambient sounds as an addition to the exhibition
Cold War time hangar for keeping two ballistic R-12 missiles
Entrance to abandoned soviet military bunker in forest in Kadaga (near Riga)
Portrait of Lenin in the office building
Communication corridor of a control bunker in an underground (R12, Dvina) nuclear ballistic missile launch site
Generator room of Baltic Military District hedquarters bunker in Kadaga
Blast doors in a flooded fallout shelter
Gas masks in a bomb shelter under Riga Radio Factory
Electronic scheme in the bomb shelter under Riga Radio Factory one of the largest in Soviet Union
Control bunker of nuclear ballistic missile underground launch site in north-east Latvia,
Flooded fallout shelter under former factory. Riga, Latvia,