Annika Toots focused during her residency period at Narva Art Residency on preparing for an international group exhibition “Tierras malas“. The exhibition takes place in autumn 2021 at Vaal Gallery and questions how people construct and categorize their surrounding environment by labeling some of them esthetical and the other “useless” or “featureless”. Tierras malas refers to a type of landscape that can be characterized by lack of vegetation, high erosion due to water and wind and considered useless by anthropological viewpoints. Exhibition explores landscape as a form of observation and cultural construction and its representation in photography.
Described theme connects with Annika Toots’ Phd research wherein she is additionally researching historical events hidden in landscape and how they have been depicted in photography, as well as the interconnectedness of memory and art when dealing with a notion of a collective traumatic past. Residency period, located in Narva, as well as nearby Kreenholm heritage, became a suitable and expanded platform to discuss the connectedness between trauma and time. Residency gave a possibility to work through the materials regarding the exhibition and Phd research as well as to familiarize oneself with the history and cityscape of Narva. One could exchange thoughts with the fellow residents on borders, periphery, isolation and other topical questions that have become part of the recent history of Narva.
Annika Toots has graduated from The Institute of Art History and Visual Culture at the Estonian Academy of Arts wherein she is now working on her Phd research. She has edited and compiled books („Kunstnike ruumid: 16 stuudiovisiiti“, 2017) and magazines (Estonian Art, 2019–2021), she has written articles focused on archives, anthropocene and photography. She is lecturing on photography history and theory at the Estonian Academy of Arts.