When Prince predicted in song that we would all be partying like it’s 1999, little did he know that the very same year would see internationally acclaimed sculptural duo Skuja Braden join forces, something the two no doubt celebrated also. Now, some twenty-one years later, Latvian artist Inguna Skuja and US born Mellissa Braden, are being honoured with their own solo show at the Latvian National Museum.

The exhibition recognises the contribution the two have made by combining forces to realise the fictional persona ‘Skuja Braden’ who, paradoxically, is responsible for breathing life into painted porcelain creations that elicit fantasy and delight within viewers, while portraying very real and hard hitting cultural and political issues.

Both their home countries (and yours truly in Australia) have hosted exhibitions where you will find their work. Work that is created truly in tandem, actively and as a team. The artists work shoulder to shoulder in the trenches together from conception to realisation of their sculptural pieces, to create work that is unparalleled in originality.

Being both socially and politically driven, the work the duo conceptualise aims to speak directly to the climate around them. It is a marker of the world with which they exist, as well as a tool of expression for their combined views on it.

The exhibition at the Latvian National Museum, running from 14th March to 3rd May 2020, is vast, constituting of over three hundred objects accrued from ten years of work that has been collected by both private and public collectors. It has been divided into eight thematic groups that illustrate the evolution of Skuja Braden’s work over these years, including depictions of seemingly opposing themes such as Buddhism and Desire. Yet central to all are the themes of life and death.

This is an achievement that we at 19Karen wish to celebrate and acknowledge from two talented and diligent artists who are committed to voicing the values that they hold high through the communal offering of art.

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