Hana Agić / / Impressions of Tartu

Every year go some place you have never been before. This was the famous Dalai Lama quote which I remembered when I heard that I was accepted for one month art residency in Tartu, and back then I thought about Estonia as that unknown place waiting to be explored by me, but this time with one higher task – to realize my video installation. And I wanted to realize it in a new environment. So, I was very excited.

I arrived to Tallinn in beginning of May on a very cold, rainy day and took a bus to Tartu, which is 2,5 hours ride south that gave me a chance to already see some of the Estonian beautiful flat landscapes surrounded by forests with high trees and traditional rural wooden houses. When I reached Tartu, the first thing that caught my attention were ‘floating‘ Soviet buildings, with interesting patterns that time has engraved on their facades.

I knew Tartu was a place with history and character which made it even more intriguing for me. During the first days, I was adopting to the new environment by wondering through the narrow streets, endless numbers of lovely parks and along the river. I visited a couple of museums, cinema, saw so many sculptures in the public space and interesting murals on buildings. Tartu is a small city, but still very alive with so much events for artists. The weather was still cold and too wet for filming, but slowly inspiration came to me from my contemplating walks and I found potential locations I wanted to observe. What was good about the medium I chose to work with is that I was outside all the time, recording the random life of Tartu and its nature and that gave me a chance to create a relation with the city and its atmosphere. Also, to enjoy and to work at the same time. New environment gave me a certain freedom to shoot whatever I found interesting without feeling shy or uncomfortable, without fear of people’s reactions. The people of Tartu were very polite, cheerful and nice which helped me to be more relaxed and free while shooting.

As the days went by, the weather became more hot and sunny, and I managed to see some rural parts around Tartu, walk through forests and hear beautiful music birds and trees create. I made good footage during my residency on which I am still working on. Tartu left beautiful memories in me and I was lucky to be there in one of the most beautiful months, when the weather is nice and days are long. There was so much beauty my heart was impressed by and during my stay my legs were always hurting because I was walking a lot and that beauty often wanted me to walk more, see more and shoot.

Time went by fast, but now I am happy to work on my footage I made in Tartu and hope it will turn out to be a good video. And it will always remind me of the lovely time I spent there with very nice people from the Estonian Print and Paper Museum who helped me a lot with organizing my open studio, gave me a tour of the museum and were always there if I needed something. I am so grateful they helped me to realize my project and gave me a chance to be part of the residency. Tartu left in my heart so much joy, nature, music, incredible sunsets, sky colors and so much light.

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