The bitterly cold winter weather might not give us too many reasons to be cheerful, but it sure won’t stop us from enjoying the wonderful, abstract creations of some of Europe’s most famous ice sculptors in Latvia this February 11 to February 13.
This year sees the 14th edition of the International Ice Sculpture Festival in Jelgava, Latvia, where the winter chills offer the perfect conditions for some of the top sculptors on the continent to show what they can do with that most basic yet essential of materials – ice.
With 22 sculptors from nine countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Great Britain and Finland – expected to attend, lovers of alternative art are in for a real treat.
The contest – because that’s what it is – is truly fascinating, with the artists working against the clock at two locations in the city – Uzvaras Park and the Hercoga Jakaba Square. The sculptors battle not just against their rivals, but also the bitter cold and the threat of changing weather conditions as they work to cut spectacular masterpieces out of more than 40 tons of ice.
Aside from the crystal clear sculptures, snow sculptures will be equally abundant, while visitors will be able to enjoy all manner of ice cold refreshments at the famous Ice Bar, as well as sideshows, music and comedy acts galore.
The International Ice Sculpture Festival has come a long way from its humble origins back in 1997, which saw just two artists participating. With the inclusion of renowned Scandinavian artists, Latvia’s favorite winter event has become a major date on the calendar and an international forum for exchanging ideas and innovation in ice sculpture. More than 70,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s edition.
The International Ice Sculpture Festival takes place over three days from February 11 to February 13, 2012, at Jelgava, Latvia.