Uno Prii’s Work in Photos – New Exhibit at VEMU

March 15, 2019

The exhibit about Canadian Estonian architects that was available to view in the fall/winter of 2017 at Tartu College and at the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn in spring 2018, got its continuation – on March 7th Leala Hewak and William Eakin’s photo exhibit on Uno Prii’s work was opened at Tartu College.

The exhibit, so-called, walked through the doors of Tartu College on its own. In September, Leala Hewak came to me at Tartu College and told me that along with her colleague William Eakin, they are huge fans of Uno Prii’s work and that they are putting together a photo exhibit on the architect’s buildings. I didn’t have to think long about the offer to display this exhibit at VEMU – it’s great when people who have no direct association with Estonia are interested in working with Estonian topics. And bringing Prii’s work under the spotlight is in addition to everything else, highlighting Estonia.

Neither Hewak or Eakin have any real association with Estonia. Hewak is a former lawyer, who has for many years now been a professional photographer and has participated in many exhibitions. Hewak’s special interest is architecture, but her work doesn’t represent typical architectural photography, for which the main goal is to present buildings in a beautiful and presentable fashion. It has been said that Leala views buildings as living organisms, finding unexpected angles and preserving details or also through the building residents themselves using snapshots.

Even more known than Hewak, is Eakin whose work has been displayed at about 50 personal exhibits and at least as many group exhibits in Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the Netherlands over the last 40 years. He has taught photography at the University of Manitoba and has received a number of awards for his work. It is often Eakin’s goal to rediscover and reemphasize the value of that which has been forgotten or remained unnoticed. “Caring” could be the keyword with which one could characterize his deeply ethical stance as a creator. Craig Rodmore is the third photographer part of this exhibit.

At the exhibit opening on March 7 at 7pm at Tartu College, both photographers were present. We also launched the book “To the New World: Estonian Architects in Toronto,” which was compiled by the curator of the architecture exhibit in 2017, Jarmo Kauge. The book expands on the information presented at the exhibit along with a detailed article on the contributions of Canadian Estonians to architectural history. The books were available to purchase at the event.

Piret Noorhani