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underglass portraits. 2020-2021

The project's inspiration stems from the recollection of an age-old childhood game known as 'Sekretai,' roughly translated as 'Secrets,' prevalent in the Baltic countries and beyond. In the late 20th century, innocent backyard game unwittingly echoed the inclination of a constrained Soviet society to blend in, hide personal beliefs and family traditions, and live discreetly in public spaces. The notion of "secrets" aptly captures the deliberate choice of Soviet society to embrace secrecy.

The "Secrets" game encompasses a thorough process involving preparation, location selection, execution, storage, and unique communication among neighborhood children. Discovering unusual items like plants or glossy sweet wrappers, the children excavate a concealed spot, hide their valuable finds, and encase them with a glass dome. Sealed with a thin layer of soil, the glass prevents others from uncovering the secret. Maintaining the "secret" is crucial to observe the changes beneath the glass. Sharing "secrets" exclusively with close friends makes it a profound game of trust, a test of friendship, secret exchange, and vibrant communication—elements often scarce in contemporary society.

Applying the same principle of the game ‘Sekretai’, I substituted flowers with people, and instead of revealing creations to a single friend, I chose to unveil them to a broader audience, to society.

In the 21st century, where technology and globalization transform daily life, behaviour, hobbies, routines, and ideologies irreversibly, this project aims to spotlight human roots and region-specific archetypes shaping individual personalities. The interpretation underscores the enduring value of childhood memories, a sense of community, trust, and friendship while addressing modern challenges such as alienation, crowd-induced loneliness, communication deficiencies in the technological age, and the loss of connection with nature and our inner selves.

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