Ilga Reke
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lga Reke Andersons

Born in Riga, Latvia 1926

Ilga Reke is an artist whose life and work challenge stereotypes. A study of her artistic journey illuminates what is perhaps the most important issue that must be addressed by all artists: the relationship between art and politics. Ilga’s most striking characteristic is her passion for both.

Ilga is one of the most prolific artists I have known. To her, it seems, making art is as constant and as necessary as eating and drinking. She is a natural born artist, full of spirit, exuberance, inventiveness and the joy of creating. Her whole environment and life experiences are the raw material for her art, and she continually experiments with new approaches, new media, new ideas.

All artists are born into as historic frame. In Ilga’s time frame a ruling convention has been the notion of stylistic purity. She has defied this notion by doing exactly what she wants in her art, alternating between depicting flowers from the garden and expressing her horror at nuclear disaster in Ukraine. This can be considered “inconsistent” if our primary interest is in creating a marketable brand image, easily recognized or described by dealers, collectors and critics. But Ilga’s art is like her life, like all our lives. Our experience alternates between joy and grief, boredom and exhilaration, spontaneous expression and analytical reflection. Ilga’s art reflects not only her anger at injustice, but also her sheer pleasure in the beauty of the material world - the world of color, form, line, rhythm and texture.

Ilga Reke is an example of an artist who has remained true to her personal sense of ethics, as expressed in political action, while at the same time giving life to her artistic vision.

Lelde Kalmite,
President, Global Society for for Latvian Art 
President emeritus, Latvian American Artists Association

Ilga Reke Andersons
858 Wildwood Place
Oconomwoc, WI 53066