During WW2, under Stalin's regime, many 'undesirable' citizens were deported, often thousands of miles from their homes. 

Peeling Onions with Granny is an event curated by four artists of Latvian and Polish heritage who have a direct connection with this history.


Latvian WW2 History Timeline   PDF 58KB

Information about deportations from Poland:

Saturday 3rd December 2016 10:30-18:00pm


Arrival of Participants

Introduction to the Day

'Be Yourself!' (Esi Pats!) - Elīna Kalniņa

'Peeling Onions with Granny' - Simon Puriņš

Break (participants are asked to bring their own lunch)

'Surviving Objects' - Teresa Murjas

'All Roads Lead to Rome' - Chris Dobrowolski


Panel Discussion - chaired by James Rattee

All four artists will be available throughout the day to answer
questions about their work and its themes.

To reserve a place:

Further details: Dr. Teresa Murjas t.s.murjas@reading.ac.uk

How To Find Us

Department of Film, Theatre & Television
University of Reading
Minghella Studios
Shinfield Road
Berkshire, RG6 6BT

For transport details:

For Campus Map - the Minghella building is marked as 195:


Chris Dobrowolski

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Chris is a Colchester-based artist, writer and performance maker who will perform his one-man show All Roads Lead to Rome. Chris has lovingly repaired his family Triumph Herald Estate so that he can drive it from his childhood home in Braintree to Rome via Turin where this quintessentially English car was designed. Part investigation into his father's time as a Polish soldier in the Italian Campaign and part muse on consumerism, All Roads Lead to Rome brings together car mechanics, a road trip, dictators and the fetishisation of possessions in a solo performance using old photos, new film and surprising mechanical objects.

More about: 'All Roads Lead to Rome'

Chris's installation 'Siberia' will also be on show throughout the day.

Elīna Kalniņa

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Elīna is a freelance Heritage Interpreter from Cēsis in Latvia. Her virtual exhibition 'Be Yourself!' (Esi Pats! in Latvian) brings together the stories of those who, as children, were part of the Soviet deportation transports from Latvia. 'Be Yourself' was shortlisted for the Japan Prize, the Education Contest for International Media. For more information about Elīna and her work, please see:
http://culture.cesis.lv/en/art/elina-kalnina#profile and


Dr Teresa Murjas

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Teresa is an Associate Professor in Theatre & Performance at the University of Reading. She also makes creative work in a range of media. She will be showing her video and object-based installation 'Surviving Objects', which she made with her mother Irena, who was deported from Poland to Siberia with her family in 1940, when she was 3 years old. By focusing on a series of objects, the piece tells the story of Irena's six years in a British-run refugee camp in Bwana M'Kubwa, in what was then known as Rhodesia, before her journey to the UK where she now lives. For further information about Teresa's work, please see:

Simon Puriņš

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Simon is a London-based Visual Artist, Filmmaker and Artist Educator-Enabler. He has worked extensively in the field of reminiscence with first-hand testimony. In a single night of 13/14th June 1941, 15, 443 Latvian citizens were deported by the Soviet authorities, to Siberia; his grandmother Marija was one of them. 'Peeling Onions with Granny' is a new work-in-progress; a film installation centered around an imagined and highly-fragmented conversation-meeting between Marija and her great-granddaughter.

Read Marija's story: LV03-MP_sml.jpg  769KB

Some of Simon's work can be found at:
http://www.eyesociation.org/index.html and

James Rattee
is a Filmmaker and Editor based in London. He makes documentaries and short fiction films, as well as corporate and commercial videos. He currently makes short documentaries for the London School of Economics. He also has a PhD in Film from the University of Reading.

With the support and assistance of

Photo of Marija Puriņa by Andrejs Feldmanis