'Diaspora' 1992 oilstick, gouache, synthetic polymer paint Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa | 
'Izkliede' 1994  gouache, synthetic polymer paint From the Gene and Brian Sherman Collection | 
'Farewell to reason' 1996  oil and oil stick, synthetic polymer paint on prepared canvas boards Collection of the National Gallery of Australia

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The 1990s the Diaspora series

This room is dedicated to four major paintings known collectively as the Diaspora series that introduce a new paradigm in Imants Tillers’ work.  Compared with his earlier works the structure of these paintings includes a vast array of small components of images and text references. These components can be shown independently or inter-connected in large works encompassing many visions and voices.

The series was sparked by dramatic political events in the late 1980s and early 1990s that saw the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Baltic States, including Latvia, the original homeland of the artist’s parents. Tillers had grown up with his parents’ view that the fate of Latvians was to be subsumed by a colonising culture resulting in the suppression of their language and customs. In the broader context he was interested in poetic, evocative ways to convey recurring cycles of loss, new beginnings and the need to acknowledge diverse voices.

The four paintings collectively represent an epic statement relating to the dislocation of people from their original homelands, including within their own lands due to colonisation, and the coming together of disparate cultures that is so much a part of the stories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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