PBLA Culture Fund names 2004 award winners

Two Latvians in the United Kingdom and one in Canada are to receive the top awards this year from the Culture Fund of the World Federation of Free Latvian (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība, or PBLA), the association has announced on its Web site.

Winners of the USD 1,000 awards are Velta Sniķere of England for her collection of poetry, Pietuvoties vārdiem, Zigfrīds Sapietis of Scotland in recognition for his work in sculpture and Ingrida Vīksne of Canada for her work with the Latvian press, particularly in editing the Canadian-Latvian weekly, Latvija Amerikā.

Honorary diplomas have been awarded to Valda Oestreichere of Canada for her painting, “Trīs granātāboli,” and to Māris Pulis of England for his leadership since 1975 of the London folk dance troupe Kamoliņš.

The PBLA also named two winners of the Krišjānis Barons award, which carries a USD 500 prize. They are Andris Ritmanis of the United States for his documentary book, Dzīves drumstaliņas Amerikā, and Ziedonis Āboliņš of England, who since 1987 had led the mixed choir of the Straumēni retirement home.

Eight other individuals are recognized for their contributions to Latvian culture. They are Guna Ikona of Canada for her poem, “Nirstot”; Indra Gubiņa of Canada for her novel, Sārta svītra debesīs; Māra Gulēna of Canada for editing and publishing the e-zine Toronto Ziņas; and, for their lifetime achievement in Latvian theatre, Skaidrīte Pūpēde, Ilga Freija and Juris Freija, all of Canada, and Rita Kaugura and Ilga Rubene of the United States.

The PBLA is headquartered in Rīga, but its Culture Fund is based in Rockville, Md. The Culture Fund was founded in 1972 with a goal of supporting Latvian culture in exile.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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