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The Lithuanian Culture Institute invites artists to take over its social networks

Lithuanian Culture Institute

Andrius Zakarauskas. Photo by Tadas Kazakevičius

The Lithuanian Culture Institute has invited Lithuanian artists to take over its accounts on the social networks Facebook and Instagram. As many as 60 photographers, writers, painters, composers, illustrators, dancers and collectives from various fields of art will present their work to the virtual international community that has been following the Institute’s activities. Here, we present the initiative as it is gathering momentum, and the comments of the artists participating in the campaign – Andrius Zakarauskas, Julija Goyd, Marius Burokas, Juta Pranulytė and Inga Galinytė.

“The coronavirus slammed the door for our artists to scheduled live meetings with fans of their work, so the Institute decided to open virtual windows wider and invite artists to come to them. We hope that in this way we will be able to at least partially make up for the cancelled openings of fairs and exhibitions, of theatre and dance premieres, and attract the attention of foreign audiences to future events. The mission of the Lithuanian Culture Institute is to present professional Lithuanian culture abroad, so we are doing exactly that. While we work on less publicly visible works in preparation for the future seasons of Lithuanian culture abroad and, together with cultural attaches, create innovative products needed for their suddenly virtualised activities, we give our stage to those who need it the most at the moment. We are truly very glad that artists welcomed our idea with such enthusiasm,” shares Aušrinė Žilinskienė, Director of the Institute.

Andrius Zakarauskas: group exhibitions in which I planned to participate postponed

The painter Andrius Zakarauskas who hosted the Instagram and Facebook accounts of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute in the first week of the campaign has noticed that quarantine has stopped all cultural activities: “Visual arts are no exception,” says the painter. “I am very glad that I still managed to hold my last exhibition Stories from before at the gallery The Rooster for which I was preparing for a long time, so it would have been very disappointing if the exhibition had to take place after the quarantine started. Of course, the art market has really changed at the moment, many art fairs have been rescheduled for autumn, and group exhibitions in which I planned to take part with the Munich gallery Andreas Binder have also been postponed.”

The Lithuanian Culture Institute had actually planned individual presentations of 12 artists on the Institute’s Instagram account this year, but in response to quarantine topicalities, it doubled the squad of participating Instagrammers. Lithuanian artists will hold the Institute’s Instagram account “hijacked” until August, and will then continue with slightly rarer appearances until the end of the year. The social wave also reached the Institute’s Facebook account. A new section, LKI Showcase, has been launched here, where all the creators who wish to do so present their works daily.

“Like many other artists, I want to show my work to as large an audience as possible and get feedback. I have been following the activities of the Institute for a while now and when I saw your proposal, I didn’t hesitate to fill in the form,” says the painter Andrius Zakarauskas, who shared photographs of his newest works and short videos from his studio on the Institute’s accounts.

Marius Burokas: trips to foreign festivals, meetings, events and readings in Lithuania cancelled

This week, Marius Burokas, a poet, translator and editor of the literary magazine Vilnius Review presenting the works of literary artists on the Lithuanian Culture Institute’s networks began his hijacking of the Institute’s Instagram account with threatening pictures of cats. Marius is feeling optimistic and admits that the Institute’s invitation got him interested because… “first of all, it’s fun to hijack something. Unfortunately, people working in culture are not bank robbers, so all that’s left to them is hijacking each other’s social networks and thus “virally” promoting themselves,” jokes Marius, adding that by participating in the campaign he hopes to share his work wider.

“The quarantine had almost no effect on creative plans – if you write, you continue writing. However, plans of presenting work were very much affected: trips to festivals abroad, meetings, events and readings in Lithuania were all cancelled. Everything moved to virtuality and screens. To be honest, I’m sick of them already – I want to have coffee in a cafe with a writer friend,” says Marius Burokas.

Julija Goyd: several exhibitions have been cancelled due to quarantine

Photographer and video artist Julija Goyd who lives and creates in Berlin says that as many as several of her exhibitions have been cancelled due to quarantine. “I have been preparing for one of the exhibitions for over a year, but the opening and the exhibition have now been postponed to 2022. Several other events scheduled to take place in May were simply discontinued. At the moment, it is very difficult to assess the situation and its impact on creative work and plans. I think we are all looking for alternatives, both for work and its dissemination.”

“I see an increase in interest in social networks and their potential benefits for culture. I very much hope that interesting and new forms will appear that will further strengthen the interest in culture spread on social networks and encourage more dialogue and communication,” shares the artist. “This campaign of the Lithuanian Culture Institute is a great opportunity for all Lithuanian artists to introduce themselves and present their work. I very much hope that the LKI Showcase is an idea that has the potential to grow into a permanent platform that would unite as many artists as possible, their creative processes and mutual communication.”

Juta Pranulytė: many projects have been paused and I had to tighten my belt considerably

Composer and the director of the Druskomanija festival Juta Pranulytė says that during the quarantine she can devote more time than ever to herself – to her self-development, creative thoughts and generating ideas, but admits that many projects have been paused and she had to tighten her belt considerably.

Asked why she got interested in the Institute’s invitation, Juta replies: “I have been following the activities of the Lithuanian Culture Institute for a long time and had an opportunity to be in direct touch with project coordinators and managers, as well as participate in training organised by the Creative Europe Desk Lithuania MEDIA office. Personally, I have spent much of my active creative time abroad, and am still in touch with many colleagues around the world. While living abroad, I felt like an ambassador of Lithuanian culture, I never lost my love for Lithuanian art, so it seems natural to me that now, while residing in Lithuania, I feel close to and very supportive of the Institute’s mission and activities,” shares the composer Juta Pranulytė.

Inga Galinytė: quarantine brought a lot of uncertainty about the future

The performance artist Inga Galinytė, who also accepted the Institute’s invite, is optimistic about the changes brought about by quarantine. “Quarantine brought a lot of uncertainty about the future, the plans for international residencies and educational programmes have been temporarily paused. However, with the international doors closed, most of us returned to the rooms of our country and sat down at a large table to rethink the possibilities of acting locally,” says the artist.

Galinytė says that currently, she is moving an even larger than usual part of her activities to the virtual space, therefore she believes that “the Lithuanian Culture Institute provides an excellent opportunity to present your artwork to a wider audience. At the same time, it is an act of solidarity at this difficult time. Fellowship and mutual support are now paramount, and extra time at home, of course, allows you to get to know each other better, find connections and opportunities to work together. For me, as a representative of performance art, it is an opportunity not only to present the thematic field of my work but also talk once again about the media of performance art itself, which is constantly evolving and moving in very interesting, unexplored ways, as, by the way, does this period”, explains Inga about why she decided to take advantage of the Institute’s social networks.

Who will present their work and what does the future hold?

The Lithuanian Culture Institute’s Facebook account (until the end of spring) and its Instagram account (all year round) will host individual presentations of the following artists: Andrius Zakarauskas, Kęstutis Kasparavičius, Julija Goyd, Marius Burokas, Juta Pranulytė, Morta Nakaitė, Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Aurelija Bulaukaitė, Austėja Vilkaitytė, Denisas Kolomyckis, Ieva Ragauskaitė, Inga Galinytė, Kornelija Žalpytė, Kristupas Gikas, Rūta Matulevičiūtė, Viktorija Damerell and Gailė Griciūtė, Vytautas Stakutis, Aurelija Kairytė-Smolianskienė, Dovilė Aleksandravičiūtė, Dovilė Martinaitytė-Tarallo, Evelina Paukštytė, Gabrielius Mackevičius, Gintautas Vaitis, Jorė Janavičiūtė, Julija Pociūtė, Kamilė Krasauskaitė, Kristina Žiogaitė, Marija Nemčenko, Vaiva Kovieraitė-Trumpė, Živilė Virkutytė, Alisa Stravinskaitė, Dovilė Bagdonaitė, Milda Vyšniauskaitė, Andrius Markevičius and others.

Also presenting their work will be contemporary music ensemble Synaesthesis, Vilnius City Theatre LowAir, Kaunas Biennial, dance festival New Baltic Dance, dance troupe NUEPIKO, dance duet B&B, dance theatre Aira, Klaipėda Drama Theatre, dance theatre Dansema, festival Vitrum, Šeiko Dance Company, Artūras Areima Theatre, food design collective Less table, Contemporary Dance Association, Lithuanian State Wind Orchestra Trimitas, Portfolio peržiūros (Portfolio Reviews), Folk Trio, contemporary music festival Druskomanija, Vilnius Review, Kaunas Photography Gallery, painters’ group O!, music group shishi, Art and Science Laboratory, Butoh dance theatre Okarukas and other Lithuanian artists.

“As the second week progresses, we can see that this initiative of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute met the artists’ expectations. The Institute presents artists through a Lithuanian cultural guide compiled by cultural professionals, but it seems that artists need not only their “polished” presentations, but also an opportunity for self-expression, to present their work the way they want. Such an opportunity is provided by social networks, therefore we are considering that the LKI Showcase could become a new form of long-term cooperation with artists,” – says Aušrinė Žilinskienė, Director of the Institute.

–> Follow the artists’ presentations on the Lithuanian Culture Institute’s Facebook and Instagram accounts! <–