Sculptress Valentina Zeile

Living near the picturesque Daugava valley, in the native „Jaunkausini” house built by Valentina`s Zeile father, sculptress from childhood felt in love with art. And this all thanks to her father Antonijs Zeile, who leisure moments dealt with woodcarving. Native side nature also has inspired the sculptress. From meadows and lush verdure of rye fields Valentina took over the richness of colours, from Latgale loamy land – tenacity and perseverance. It all reflects in pastels depicting native home, parents Antonijs and Anele Zeile and beloved banks of the Daugava river. Valentina life and creative work, like charming meanders of Daugava river valley, thrown two circles, the first of which was rooted and gained strength in Latgale, Naujene, but ended in Riga. In turn, the second enticed sculptress to her dreamland –  France, Paris, where she has been living for over 30 years.

In Naujene Local History Museum are viewable works of art in bronze, in which especially brightly expressed talent facets of the sculptress Valentina Zeile. Most of the exhibits consist of the medals and plaquettes because sculptress is considered as the leading medal artist in the former Soviet Union. In the showcases, visitors can see the medal series, which are devoted to the family, relatives, doctors, teachers, poets and prominent public figures. The travel impressions reflected in the medal cycles dedicated to the Czech Republic, France and Asia.  Attract the attention the number of the artist’s self-portraits.

The travel impressions of Africa is reflected in the sculpture cycle dedicated to this country. 4 works of art of the cycle are viewable in the exhibition: „The strength of generations”, „The rhythms of Gambia”, „The joy of living” and „Sculptor Paul Ai from Togo”. Also, the breeze of France is felt in the exhibition. The sculpture “The man and a horse” is a tribute to Bartabas [born Clément Marty] – Zingaro horse theatre founder in Paris suburb at Aubervilliers. While  the sculpture “Skater” gained prominence not only in Latvian – one copy of the work of art  is located in gallery in Athens [Greece]

Once Valentina Zeile gave the promise: wherever she would not live, she will always come back to her hometown with her works of art. The promise fulfilled in public collection store – room „Workshop of Valentina Zeile” where can be viewed and stored unexposed part of Valentina Zeile collection. The collection consists of more than 6200 items, which are mainly created before sculptress departure to Paris [1956-1982]. Workshop of Valentina Zeile designed as a public collection store – room that reflects the artist’s creative life in Vecdaugava [Riga, Latvia].

Remembering this period of life the sculptress in her book „Valentina” wrote: „In Vecdaugava house, built by my daddy, I spent long, happy and corny years of my life. My best works of art created there. I was happy there, I felt like a queen in her palace. I organized parties and carnivals, my friends, artists, actors, scientists came to me. Actors posed for me: neighbour Karlis Sebris, funny Rudolfs Plepis and very serious Juris Strenga, who posed, without missing book out of his hands. Even today in the ears sound silvery voice of the Riga Russian Drama Theatre excellent actor Mikhail Hiznakov, – until the morning light he used to recite texts from that time performances – “Man of La Mancha” and “Conversations with Socrates.” Unforgettable moments left in memory also with other theater stars, creating their portraits – always cozy tea drinking with the scene queen Elsa Radzina … ”

“Since 1971, when I the first time landed in Paris – a city whose symbol is the Cathedral of Our Lady – all subsequent ten painful nostalgia opulent years until I moved to France, I desperately praying Her:” Take me to your city!” And later, when it had happened, I wrote a letter of thanks to Our Lady and undertook to create her image – when I will be ready – and donate it to Paris.”/ Valentina Zeile/

In 2016 Naujene Local History museum collection was supplemented with painter Gertrude Zeile [Valentina`s sister] donation – objects owned by Zeile family: mother Anele Zeile handicrafts [doily, gloves] and objects manufactured by father Antonijs Zeile and used in everyday life [table, baskets, plane, hammer, wooden bowl, and washing board with the dolly]. Each object, as a witness of those times, shows opportunities and lifestyle, providing a brief look in “Jaunkaushini” house everyday life. In exhibition also represented crosses and crucifixes made by Antonijs Zeile for St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Juzefova church.

In the museum visitors  can get a look at the photo story about the unique Zeile family.  2 talented artists – Valentine and Gertrude Zeile was brought up and educated in the ordinary peasant family. Exhibition visitors addresses photos of the beginning of the 20th century that show the two sisters father Anthonijs Zeile with his mother Magdalene Zeile at the native home at the “Mazie Lachi” in Izvalta. From other photos of the 1930s look at as Valentina’s and Gertrude`s mother Anele Kokina. In many pictures appears small Valentina with sister Gertrude, parents Antonijs and Anele Zeile in the native village in Vilushi. In rare scenes immortalized grandfather Adams Kokins and grandfather’s wife’s sister Victoria Surmacha.  Sculptress  Valentina Zeile called Victoria „my grandmother”  and devoted her one of the first work of arts with the same name “Grandmother”.