Latvian born, Elina Ruka received Fulbright Scholarship in 2013 to pursue her MFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago that she graduated in 2016. She is also recipient of Follett Merit Award and Albert P. Weisman Award at Columbia College Chicago, Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship for Study in the U. S. and Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation artist award.
Her photographic work centers upon subject of water, identity and language. Her work has been exhibited in Latvia, Belgium, Denmark, France and the United States and numerous online exhibitions. Ruka’s work has been published in Latvian Photography Yearbook (2013) and Generation of Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics (2011). Elina Ruka has taught photography at Latvian Culture College.
Domesticities is a portrait of my family and a means to better understanding such terms as home and belonging, my roots and identity. It is at the same time a story of Latvia, its distinction, characteristics, traditions and details that are specific to a country.
Paradoxically, I see more clearly what the home means when I am away. I visualize Latvia after two decades of independence from Soviet Union through memories and contemplations. I am interested to find out what are the traditions that were carried on from the ancestors, what influences got appropriated during the Soviet times and how the new identity in again independent Latvia has been shaped.