Signe Grūbe (LV)
(PhD student, Riga Stradins University)

ARTWORK – WITNESS OF TIME

An artist, particularly a painter is the one, who by use of means of expression known only to self can express in his or her works those things about his or her own time, which are difficult to establish for the social science scholar using only social science methods. It is for this reason that it is important for the representatives of the social sciences to address the artists and through their intermediation and with the help of their work to find the answers to those questions that are pivotal for the society and that cannot be answered unambiguously with the common study methods of social sciences. As a result, the winners will be both the scholars of the social sciences, and the society on the whole, because upon seeking the answers via other study subjects, it is possible both to confirm the existing findings and arrive at new ones. In this work, these matters are related to the national identity in Latvia, because the social importance of the national identity is exacerbated in conditions, when the society is facing choice and/or uncertainty, because strong national identity can fortify the civic society and unite the people for achieving a common goal.

Analysis of the artworks in a social context is one of the possible ways of setting the national identity in its creation phase, as well as in the present time, because the artists were and still are the ones, who select and interpret the basic elements of the cultural and civic heritage, by dressing them into a visual language for a specific audience. The artwork not only leaves the footprints of its time, but it also contains directly or indirectly encoded information about a specific nation, its history, and geographical location. The work of art, if professional and not created as a result of a political order, is the best indicator of the existing national identity, because its form is the purest. The visual artwork does not tell you what to do and it does not indicate unambiguously what is what, but it is indicative of the way how it is understandable for the nation.