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The elusive anarchist icon “Peter the Painter” returns to Talsi / Article

By on October 13, 2021 0

On Saturday October 16, an innovative exhibition will be inaugurated at the Talsi Regional Museum, whose name is “Nenotveramais” or “Elusive”. The exhibition is created by the museum in cooperation with representatives from various fields – writers, musicians, actors and others, and it is dedicated to the legendary Latvian anarchist Jānis Žāklis, once the most wanted man in the world.

Jānis Žāklis ​​was his real name, but during his active revolutionary work he was called by many other names – The Surveyor, Tālbergs, Pjotrs Pjatkovs, Peter the Painter and others.

It was as “Peter the Painter” that he achieved a mysterious sort of importance following the so-called “Siege of Sidney Street” in London 110 years ago, which saw Latvian anarchists organize an ultimate shootout against the police. , the British Army and even Winston Churchill.

Žāklis ​​was seen as a leader of the anarchist gang, who had tried to fund their revolutionary work by staging a jewelry heist, and a huge manhunt was launched to capture him but at the age of 27, he disappeared and was never caught, although rumors of his ultimate fate continued to circulate for decades (the best account of his history can be found in Philip Ruff’s book An imposing flame which is one of the main inspirations of the Talsi exhibition.

The Talsi exhibit is no ordinary museum exhibit. The musical design of the exhibition was created by composer Toms Auniņš and museum staff were assisted by writer Andris Kalnozols, actor Edgars Samītis, local Talsi media and many other partners.

As a result, the exhibition will not be a historical look, but an adventure, a pursuit and an investigation with the participation of the spectators, as described by the author of the exhibition idea, the director of the regional museum Talsi Uldis Jaunzems -Pētersons.

“He’s a person with so many different aspects and qualities and abilities who has been assessed in many different ways. He’s basically a 21st century man who lived in the early 20th century … He didn’t. has no place, he has not “attached himself” to any place, he is a citizen of the world. But let’s look at this time – there are only a relatively small number of people who can afford to move around beyond the borders of their territory. But Žāklis ​​- here he is in Talsi, here he is in Bobruisk, here he is in Sabile, in Riga, in Marseille, Paris, New York, London. passes in a relatively short period of time, ”explains Uldis Jaunzems-Pētersons.

Despite, or perhaps because of, her movie star beauty, Žāklis ​​has always been a two-sided figure. On the one hand, he can be called a terrorist, a criminal, even the Latvian bin Laden, but he also exudes a certain glamor, mystery and adventure, and has become a popular anti-hero even in East End folklore. Londoner.

One of the creators of the exhibition Andris Kalnozols points out that in the history of the exhibition they tried to avoid different markers, keeping in mind both the context of the time and the fact that ‘he has never been tried for his alleged crimes. “I would say he was an adventurer by nature, to whom the events of history gave a fantastic background to appear on … it was, in my opinion, his engine, the spirit of the adventurer. . This is his starting point. “

The creators of the exhibition do not condemn or justify Jānis Žāklis, but give visitors the opportunity to become investigators and to assess it for themselves.

The exhibition will consist of two parts – the first will be a repository of applied evidence, which will reflect the era through various objects. The second – the investigation cabinet. Uldis Jaunzems-Pētersons explains: “The Investigative Cabinet will offer this opportunity to those who are interested in taking part in such an adventure or, as we say in a modern way, in such a quest , taking various measures. “

As Andris Kalnozols notes: “The investigation will be ongoing throughout the exhibition, and for this person this is the most appropriate format. Why is this so? There is a chance that the people who come to this exhibition can contribute to the development of the survey. Because many people around Talsi do not even realize that there was such a person, but it is very possible that somewhere, somewhere from their grandparents, they heard stories that they will now be able to add to the survey. The case is open, the case is not closed. “

The “Nenotveramais” exhibition will be inaugurated at the Talsi Regional Museum on Saturday October 16 and will be visible for about a year. More information: https://www.talsumuzejs.lv/nenotveramais/.

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