Savvaļas skiti

In its very core Savvaļa is meant to be a place to meet for all different kinds of creatives with diverse backgrounds, a place for different art, ideas, friendships, discussions. It's a place with almost utopian vision to be always open to creatives and give an opportunity to find a shelter in one's silence in close-to-nature simplicity of obstacles and comfort to think, to create, to be alone or otherwise - to meet others (maybe strangers at that point) to find probably new and unexpected thoughts, discoveries and solutions. The program's aim is to nourish a professional cross-disciplinary art and culture and to create a platform for experimental thought. Residing on site is also at the core of Savvaļa exhibition - all of the artists resided in Savvaļa before creating their works, during the creation or installation and/or following years while refining them.

Since the beginning of Savvaļa in 2020 it hosted residencies for both individuals and groups, such as summer schools, camps, gatherings, public discussions etc. During the first season residencies were a part of exhibition creation e.g. most of the artists resided in Savvaļa to create their works and as part of "Savvaļas burtnīca", a poetic documentation project by Henriks Eliass Zēgners and e-journal "Savvaļas burtnīca" resulted in a printed limited edition available for free in Savvaļa and Rīga and was a combination between poetry, texts and visual art and photography. Second season of Savvaļa continued with joint Savvaļa and culture organization "Ascendum" residency project "Savvaļas darbnīcas" which hosted cross-disciplinary creatives with open workshops during their residencies in Savvaļa. There was also second and to this point the last edition of "Savvaļas butnīca" created. Starting with the third season Savvaļa created a residency program "Savvaļas skiti", which hosted each season local and international creatives, whose residencies resulted in their own well-being, bright ideas and sometimes if they wish - in concerts, performances, exhibitions, readings, discussions and even movies and films. During these years alongside individuals a group residencies also are happening, for instance Summer school session for Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, AAL Arhitecture School camp, different writing camps, somatic practices camps, annual Summer school of Curatorial course of Latvian Academy of Arts and many others.

“Skete of Savvaļa” is one of the three working directions of Savvaļa, the other two being exhibition and public programme. Run by artist-cultural professional collective it is unique by its location, principle of organization and experience it gives to its visitors. All three directions of Savvaļa support one another and work well internally by residing artists participation in public program or creating works for exhibition; public programme participants can meet residing artists or during weekend-long public program activities artists, participants and visitors mingle and create new networks. Due to communal spaces, common living conditions and unique location of this site friendships and collaborations are easily formed between people who happen to meet each other in this location. It is therefore even more important for us not only bring local artists to Savvaļa, but also expand our network and find possibilities to bring more international artists and creatives to Savvaļa to reside and create new collaborations and network possibilities for both Latvian artists and for foreign artists to meet locals. Applications are individually discussed via e-mail:

Below is the archive with selections from previous residencies.


Holy Hole / Skete of sonology

"Holy Hole" – result of the residency by interdisciplinary artist Henrijs Laķiss in collaboration with musician Andrejs Poikāns. A comprehensive performance of sound and analogue video projections in which an international group of sonologists and artists participated – Wilf Amis (England), Riccardo Ancona (Italy), Dima Ibrahim (Germany), Valentin Kellein (Germany), Amos Peled (Israel), Sintija Andersone (Latvia).


Skete of jazz and painting

Musicians Matīss Čudars, Evija Vēbere, Elīna Silova and Ivars Arutyunyan, who have been visible in various jazz and contemporary experimental music ensembles as one of the strongest composers, songwriters and performers of Latvia in recent years, resided in Savvaļa, setting up a rehearsal and the recording studio in the Grey Cube. The music composed in Savvaļa was presented at the intimate concert at the end of the residency and a year later the recordings of this music were used in the documentary "Umbra" by Aleksejs Beļeckis. In the meantime artists Sabīne Vernere, Aleksejs Beļeckis and Andris Eglītis participated in the annual painting residency. As one of the central event happened was an immersive installation by Andris Eglitis on a pond, which took all of the residents to participate in the creation of paintings by Eglītis that later on were part of his solo shows. 


The Ravine. Stanislav Tokalov and Egija Smeile

A 56 hours long residence and performance of film director Stanislav Tokalov and architect and painter Egija Smeile (Latvia). 

"In a grove of trees, out in the pristine countryside, for seven days eight hours a day and in silence using a shovel a man digs a pit in the ground with the hope of finding truth.

Around the pit, eleven cut-down tree trunks stand in a circle, mute witnesses, hostages of the event.

Humans dig holes when they want to grow something or build a house, create a pond but when they want to hide something or want to bury something they dig, too. If you know or think that something is buried you dig to find it. You might find a fossil, a bone that belonged to a living creature or something closer to your own space and time.

The trees surrounding this work are the permanent spectators, other witnesses, the ones who were here, are here now and will be here when the artists depart. In this case we dig to find truth, to dig down to it, to find what it is. And as Gotthold Ephraim Lessing said, “The truth itself is not interesting, but the search for it”. We are not sure if that is true.

All the participants: the cut-down tree trunks, the encircling trees and the viewing public are waiting, waiting…"


SICK. Flo Kasearu and Elīna Vītola

Artist duo Flo Kasearu (Estonia) and Elīna Vītola (Latvia) resided in Savvaļa at different times during the summer of 2022, creating the work "Sick" with the opening of the erected monument in Savvaļa on August 13, 2022. 

"We erected statues, monuments of greatness and glory, commemorating war, victories over others – "bloodsucking parasites" – like there was any victories to begin with! Only loss, on either end. We carried accomplishments like badges, pierced through our chests; the powerfulness of an individual seemingly more important than our communities. 

That’s sick."

Sick is a life-sized, bronze sculpture of a tick, taking two forms. Ticks are ectoparasites, living on the surface of its hosts and feed on their blood. As ticks do, Sick latches itself on to the surface of a wooden sculpture and on to the skin of a human as a microdermal piercing. Small but resistant, it outwits and outlasts. There is a sense of taking over nature taking over: bronze as a material and the parasitic strategy of a tick resists the unpredictable forces of nature. 

Body modification such as piercings, are an act of resistance, a token of collectivity: a symbol of being part of a chosen community. Carrying surgical steel in and on our bodies is perhaps deviant to nature, even if our bodies are endlessly modified by nature within and outside our skins. Control comes in specifically with the human-centric urge to outplay the more-than-human conditions of our lives, through modification of human and non-human bodies and landscapes. 

Sick is an implant, that both belongs and creates fear. 

Sick is a monument, as is the skin you live in.


Summer School of Latvian Art Academy Curatorial Course

Annual Summer school residence by students of the Curatorial course of the Latvian Art Academy under the leadership of Antra Priede, Kitija Vasiļjeva and Andris Brinkmanis. In 2022 the main summer school focus was on the first curatorial lexicon in Latvian.


Inventory of a landscape. Artūrs Čukurs / Henrijs Laķis / Gerds Lapoška / Kirilis Ēcis / Ernests Vilsons

Four interdisciplinary Latvian artists – Artūrs Čukurs, Henrijs Laķis, Gerds Lapoška and Kirilis Ēcis resided in Savvaļa in July 2021. The result – performance "Kādas ainavas inventarizācija" ("Inventory of a landscape") – took place in the central base of Savvaļa and a written version of it was published in the second edition of the "Savvaļa notebook" and depicted in documentaru "Umbra".  

"The work was created by four young artists experiencing, observing and describing "wild" nature and all the processes taking place within it, the cycles of these processes and their mutual links. Similar to Georges Perek's textual practice in the work "An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris", this work is an observer's effort to create a spatial map of the landscape, anticipating both his absence and his presence and participation in it."


Skete of painting. Aleksejs Beļeckis

A group residency and an open workshop of traditional painting techniques led by the artist Aleksejs Beļeckis, which covers priming and preparation of wooden bases intended for painting and the basics of egg tempera painting. Participants of residence also shared their own painting techniques and worked on their own works. The results were shown as one-day exhibition and poetry reading in Savvaļa Pit. 


Kristi Kongi

Finnish artist Kristi Kongi resided in Savvaļa in July 2020. 

She created a painting installation "To hide yourself. Is there any light left? Lemon yellow? Golden Ochre? Magenta? Where are you now?" "A site-specific painting object, based on light. The viewer can hide or find oneself in the shadow of this object. The object is like a screen and also like a wall. A wall inside the forest between man and nature. Between me and you. The wall panels consist of details around us. Details are from the place where the object is located. Painted with both enamel and with oil paints."


Teemu Korpela

Finnish artist Teemu Korpela resided in Savvaļa in July 2021. 

He created an installation "Intercourse Between Two Worlds". "This work ponders the psychological friction between our biological base as animals and the ideal that we call human. The visual concept of the installation comes from beehives and different architectural and geometrical forms."


Žilvinas Landzbergas

Lithuanian artist Žilvinas Landzbergas was one of the first residents in Savvaļa, working on site in June 2020. 

He created a sculptural installation "Solar Karaoke Platform / Singing with Myself". "This work is inviting to enjoy individual Karaoke sessions in the woods. Set of mirroring sculptural elements create an environment landscape with a stage for individual performing. A visitor or a spectator (or a random mushroom) could find oneself being present for a moment as main character on a Karaoke stage. Without much audience involved, there will be woods and swamps surrounding you performing live."


Austris Mailītis

Latvian architect Austris Mailītis is one of the "returning residents" – participating, creating and contributing regularly since the very beginning of Savvaļa. He has created the installation "Wind watchers", built the Savvaļa sauna on the pond, curated discussions and led volunteer action and residing in Savvaļa each year. 

Photo: Reinis Hofmanis. Portrait of Austris Mailītis: Dāvis Doršs