In 2002 Jean Kigel traveled for the first time in her life to Latvia where her four grandparents were born.  

Nestled between Lithuania and Estonia on the Baltic Sea, Latvia became an independent country in 1991 after control by foreign powers since the 14th century.  These powers include Hanseatic Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania - and in the 20th century, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  

Despite centuries of foreign control, Latvia has preserved its ethnic identity through its language, food, song, dance and other customs.  Two and a half million people live in Latvia today with equal numbers spread throughout  the world.  

The tiny country of Latvia is struggling successfully to make its way in the modern, technological world.  

Kigel's paintings focus on the old sections of its cities, the Maine-like countryside, and its magnificent, magical stork.

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