For many people, mentioning the Baltics as a region in the world can lead to widespread confusion as to its exact geographic location. Thankfully, photographer and storyteller Cheryl Goodwin has devoted her time to travelling the area in hopes of educating people on the history of the region.
She will be hosting a slideshow presentation of her journey, titled The Baltics: Overcoming Occupation, at Pynelogs on Sunday, September 4th starting at 7 p.m.
For those unfamiliar with the region, the Baltic States are located in north-central Europe, along the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea and along the western border of the Russian Federation and the country of Belarus. The countries that make up the region, which Ms. Goodwin travelled to in the summer of 2015, include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which gained their independence from the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Ms. Goodwin said she was looking for a new area to explore in Europe that would offer a presentation unique from her past photography presentations.
I wanted to show the history and what I saw there and just the people and culture, she said. This show isnt about climbing mountains and some of the other stuff I do in shows, but it definitely is a cultural journey through the countries.
Ms. Goodwin said her itinerary on the trip was a mix of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) historical city centres and the remote agrarian countryside. Along the way, she stopped at 14th century castles, windmills, museums, lighthouses and one concentration camp located just outside of the capital city of Latvia, Riga.
She said that the one constant throughout her journey between the three countries was how resilient they were facing oppression from many regimes, that most notably included the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. This is one of the main messages she will try to convey to those attending her presentation.
(Its about) exploring Eastern Europe and a relatively unknown part of Eastern Europe and to see the resiliency and the beautiful energy that the people have who have come through so much, she said. We have no idea in North America what its like, unless youre a Native American, to be occupied. Throughout all of this, they have managed to maintain their own culture and to persevere and appreciate.
Given the uncertainty in the Middle East and Europe in places like Ukraine and Russia, she said its important to understand the history of the region and why NATO is there.
I think its important we know what were there doing and what were there to protect and I think its very timely that people realize that rather than just reading about it in a newspaper and not really understanding anything about the history, she said. Were all human, right, regardless of the privilege of where we were born.
Those looking to attend the event are invited to Pynelogs at 7 p.m. with admission by donation. The photography exhibit from her trip will be open to the public at Pynelogs until that time.