The Kekava Local History Museum is the only museum in Latvia that tries to popularize caricature as an art genre by organizing caricature exhibitions and competitions, as well as supplementing the museum’s collection with works by Latvian cartoonists. The museum’s collection contains a rich and versatile legacy of the county’s graphic artist and cartoonist Edgars Ozoliņš.
From 1957 to the end of his life, E. Ozoliņš drew cartoons and had humor and satire freelance artist of the magazine “Dadzis”, as well as participated in exhibitions of cartoonist works in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. E. Ozoliņš died in 1987 without experiencing the adoption of the Third Awakening of the Latvian people and the Declaration of Independence, however, all his life he carried Latvia with all the twists and turns of its history.
As the collection of Ķekava Local History Museum contains about 1500 originals of E. Ozoliņš’s drawings and sketches and in order to promote their availability to a wider circle of interested people, in early 2020, when creating the 90th anniversary exhibition his best drawings and sketches to prepare the first edition of his work. The album “Known and Unknown Edgars Ozoliņš. Works from the collection of Ķekava Local History Museum ”with 190 both published and unpublished drawings and sketches. The album provides an opportunity to get to know the versatility of E. Ozolina’s creative heritage – book illustrations, cartoons, exlibrus, cartoons, posters and sketches of drawings, as well as helps to discover the talent of his artist and show not only the content quality of the works, but also the artistic value, emphasizing the means of graphic expression in the revelation of the content. Drawings have also been published, which reveal the mastery of E. Ozolina’s letter and title creation, because in his drawings they always get a diverse and interesting interpretation. The layout of the publication was created by the artist Armīns Ozoliņš, while the art historian Austra Avotiņa wrote reflections on E. Ozoliņš, evaluating his handwriting and talent: “The virtuoso and precise line only intensifies it, the tone gives volume – everything becomes moving, spatial, emotional and alive. Graphic and pictorial boundaries merge, content is revealed in details, it is also alive in the exact line of the silhouette.”
Analyzing the character of E. Ozoliņš’s drawings, A. Avotiņa writes: “A soft, virtuoso line in free sketches becomes more and more precise and harsh in fully developed, concrete scenes. But fine irony pierced the nuances of the content, the subtexts and the harshly self-critical observation of the surroundings become the self-evident content of this manuscript. ”
The album is not intended for sale, but will be available in Ķekava district libraries, the National Library of Latvia and will be presented as a thank you to the museum’s supporters.
In 2020, the Ķekava Local History Museum received support in a project competition from the State Culture Capital Fund for an exhibition of the design concept for a new exhibition dedicated to Edgars Ozoliņš and Latvian cartoonists “They are united by“ Dadzis ””. This year, support from VKKF is for the 1st round of the implementation of the design concept, and currently work has begun to open a new permanent exhibition “Laugh Healthy!” At the end of the year.
Since 2010, the Ķekava Local History Museum has been organizing a student cartoon drawing competition “Laugh!”. This year the theme of the competition was “Dižķibele – home sitting” and 775 works drawn by students (cartoons, comics or cartoons) from 106 Latvian schools were submitted. In each class group, the E. Ozolins Memorial Award is presented as the Main Award. The design of the prize was created by the artist Armīns Ozoliņš and it reminds of E. Ozoliņš’s signature – window panes with his initials and the last two digits of the year. This award is also presented to Latvian cartoonists for cooperation with the Kekava Local History Museum in popularizing the cartoon genre. It has already been received – Zemgus Zaharāns (2011), Pāvels Hafizovs (2012), Imants Melgailis (2013), Agris Liepiņš (2014), Gatis Šļūka (2015), Kristaps Auzenbergs (2016), Ēriks Ošs (2017), Raimonds Valters (2018), Bruno Bahs (2019) and Jūlija Bulikina (2020). This year, the award was presented to artist and cartoonist Dainis Breiks.