The Daugaviete A!L! sorority is seeking contributions to complete an album of the life’s work of Latvian-Canadian artist Gundega Cenne.
Cenne, a lifelong sorority member, died Dec. 16 in Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital at the age of 76.
Cenne was an accomplished painter, highly regarded in the Latvian community in North America, according to sorority member Ināra Suuberg. Working at times in oil and at times in acrylic media, she frequently experimented with materials.
Her art reflects a very sensitive woman’s world, largely occupied with children, youth and nature. One senses in her paintings a sorrow for the loss of her homeland and a longing for it. Indra Gubiņa, a Latvian-Canadian writer and art critic who has followed and written reviews of Cenne’s art exhibits from 1966 on, noted that her style and subjects have earned her work a distinct place in the Latvian art world. Furthermore, Cenne has been highly acclaimed on the art scene in Canada, mostly in Ottawa.
Cenne graduated from Concordia University in Montréal, earning the Board of Governors’ Gold Medal for “Creative Expression in Fine Arts.” She worked as a drawing teacher and art lecturer, having received a bachelor of education degree from McGill University, Montréal. Cenne participated in many juried group shows and in 30 solo exhibitions.
Cenne received numerous prizes at home in Canada and abroad. She was honored for her life’s work in 2001 with the Gen. Goppers Award and in 2007 with an award from the Culture Fund of the World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība).
Her work is included in the Tom Thomson Memorial Gallery and Museum of Fine Art in Owen Sound, Ontario; the Canadian Consulates in New York and Chicago; the Niagara Art Museum; the Shute Institute in London, Ontario; the Bank of Montréal in Quebec; the Latvian Embassy in Ottawa; Tompson Enterprises, Owen Sound; and in the Traveling Exhibition of Latvian Diaspora Art, Global Society for Latvian Art, as well as in many Latvian homes.
Cenne dedicated the last year of her life to fulfilling a dream of publishing an album of her own work, according to Suuberg. Her paintings were being located and professionally photographed in the United States and Canada. The artist was choosing which of the photographs to include in the project. Noted art historian Māris Brancis came from Latvia in May to meet with her to continue his research on her life and art work in preparing the written material for the publication. However, Cenne did not survive to see the project completed.
The Daugaviete sorority took responsibility for the project’s finances in the United States. With permission from Cenne’s surviving family, Daugaviete is continuing the task so that Gundega Cenne/albums may be completed.
Contributions by check should be made payable to “Korporācija Daugaviete” with a notation that the donation is made in Cenne’s memory, and sent to Sarmīte Straupnieks, 16714 Cobblestone Dr., #202, Lynnwood, WA 98037-6980. The contribution will be dedicated to the project, and the artist’s family will be advised of the gift.
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