November events in Kaunas. What not to miss?

„Sutarties“ repeticija, G. Jovaišos nuotr.

The last month of autumn in “Kaunas - The European Capital of Culture 2022” is marked by special experiences. New exhibitions, music and theatre premieres await in the city, while the final events of the month will invite you to immerse yourselves into a grand closing program “The Contract”. “Kaunas 2022” shares recommendations on what to see and what not to miss as the year of the European Capital of Culture draws to a close.

The triennial of Ukrainian contemporary art “Ukraine! Unmuted”

Already on November 4th, “Kaunas - the European Capital of Culture 2022”  welcomes the 5th triennial of Ukrainian contemporary art “Ukrainian Cross-Section 2022. UKRAINE! UNMUTED”.  The triennial will present an exhibition, a performance, public discussions and a book of essays. All the events attempt to disclose what Ukrainian art was and what it is now, letting the art speak for itself. This year, the main exhibition of the triennial will present 17 artworks by Ukrainian artists from Dnipro, Kherson, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa and Donetsk. The exposition will invite visitors to discover video works, installations and objects, paintings, graphics, and photography works.

When: Until December 4

Where: Kaunas Central Post Office

More information is available here.

“Protecting Layer”, aut. Konstiantyn Zorkin“Carrying the Light”. Symphony dedicated to Chiune Sugihara

As a Japanese consul in Lithuania during World War II, Sugihara rose above the terror of the Nazi regime by risking his life and career in saving 6.000 Jews who were fleeing Europe. On November 5th, this story will be remembered in the language of music by Kaunas State Choir, Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, cello virtuoso Kristina Reiko Cooper and conductor Konstantinas Orbelianas, who will present a special musical programme “Carrying the Light”.

When: November 5
Where: Kaunas State Philharmonic
Tickets are available here.

Exhibition „Working Class Heroes“

Freedom, power, money, and human rights – these are the universal themes explored by the first Work Museum in Luxembourg (MUAR/ Musée van der Aarbecht). In a rather contemporary way, the exhibition “Working Class Heroes” presents three working-class heroes Jean-Pierre Bausch (1891–1935), Léon Weirich (1878–1942) and Jean Schortgen (1880–1918). Personal stories of the people who created Luxembourg, a small country in the middle of Europe, raise relevant questions anew: who created your country, who represents your rights today, and how far have we progressed in the field of labour law?

When: Until 2023 February 23
Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery
More information is available here.

 

G. Jovaišos nuotr.

International symposium “The Idea of Europe”

The recent decades' geopolitical, international, cultural, and mental changes make it a pressing issue to ask again, what do we mean when we say ‘Europe’? European and world intellectuals, scientists, artists, and politicians will meet at the two-day event to answer this question. The presidents of Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Latvia, and Estonia will participate in the symposium. The symposium is under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda.

When: November 25-26

Where: Vytautas Magnus University

More information is available here.

The Assembly Kaunas

Performance the “Assembly Kaunas” is a joint creative project of the Kaunas National Drama Theatre and the documentary theatre Porte Parole (Canada). By using theatrical means, the project aims at creating a democratic dialogue on topics that greatly divide our society. During the creative process of the performance, the creative team invited 4 strangers with different ideological views to a dinner in which they discussed the topics greatly polarising our society. In the performance, you will see the re-enacted discussion: the actors will play real people, who have participated; their language will be authentic and not edited. The Assembly Kaunas is an aspiration to restore our faith in the possibility of change.

When: November 25, 27

Where: National Kaunas Drama Theatre

Tickets are available here

Yoko Ono’s retrospective exhibition “The Learning Garden of Freedom”

The Learning Garden of Freedom is a retrospective exhibition of Yoko Ono’s work organised in collaboration with Studio One in New York, founded by the artist herself, the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, and the Kaunas Picture Gallery in Kaunas. The exhibition presents an overview of Yoko Ono’s works, including various creative periods and practices ranging from conceptual art and experimental films to spatial installations, objects, and performance art.

When: Until 4 December

Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery

More information is available here.

Yoko Ono paroda, L. Žemgulio nuotr.

OSTRALE contemporary art exhibition. „Streams upstream“

The OSTRALE Biennale in Dresden is one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in Germany, organized in non-traditional spaces, initially designed for purposes other than art. “Streams upstream” is the final OUT of OSTRALE event, completing the series of European cultural cooperation project “Flowing connections”. This is an exhibition about globality and all the nowness, unfulfillments and subtexts of this multi-layered phenomenon.

When: Until November 13

Where: Kaunas Central Post Office

More information is available here.

“Kaunas 2022” closing program “The Contract”

The journey of “Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022”, which has given more than 1,500 events and initiatives, is slowly coming to an end. At the end of autumn, the organizers are inviting you to the last adventure - the 4-day long year-closing program “The Contract’. November 24-27 Kaunas and Kaunas district will invite you to a free concert of the “Ten Walls”, numerous events, exhibitions, and the grand closing performance in the “Žalgiris” arena.

When: November 24-27

Where: Various places in Kaunas and Kaunas District

More information is available here.

„Sutarties“ repeticija, G. Jovaišos nuotr.

Tebby Ramasike, who will perform at the Ninth Fort: “In ugliness there is beauty and in darkness there is light”

Tebby Ramasike, K. Jurevičiūtės nuotr.

South African-born dancer and choreographer Tebby W. T. Ramasike has three decades of experience working on a professional stage. Ramasike doesn’t avoid drawing resources from painful historical events, which he combines with his personal experience and expresses in body language. On 24th of September, 2022, he will perform the performance “The Wreckage Of My Flesh” at Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum. In order to learn more about the performance, the dance in the context of traumatic experience, and the importance of remembering historical events, we invite you to read the interview with Tebby Ramasike.

The performance “The Wreckage Of My Flesh” is a part of the international project “ECCE HOMO: Those Who Stayed”, which is organised by Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum and Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022.

On 24th of September, you will perform "The Wreckage Of My Flesh" at the Ninth Fort. First of all, I would like to ask you what impression and emotions did you have after visiting the Ninth Fort for the first time in 2021, during the preparation for the project?

That was quite an overwhelming experience. I saw pictures before that Bruce [visual artist Bruce Clarke] had shared with me, so I expected a different place. But when we were there, I just felt – Wow! At first, I didn’t know how to express it. I was so overwhelmed… I felt there was so much pain… There was a voice inside of me that was screaming out of pain, there was a voice screaming out of hope. It actually exceeded my expectations. I felt I was standing on a sacred ground. There was this intense and unique energy. It was not the structure of this place that actually caught my attention, but the surroundings, the environment, the trees around there... The trees became a representation of this symbolic nation of people that lost their lives there. There was the spirit that was living. 

What was very interesting for me, is that I was not walking into a museum. I was not walking into an exhibition space. I was drawn into the living soul of humanity. Humanity that has been lost. I just connected with something there and creative ideas just flew immediately into my head. And I said, “I think I came to the right place. This is where I belong, this is what I wanna do.” My soul, my heart was pumping, and my spirit just wanted to live, wanted to grab, wanted to fly. It was so enriching for me. 

Could you please shortly present your performance, which you will perform at the Ninth Fort? 

I will go back to how the project started. In 2018, I was performing in a Butoh and Acousmatic Music festival in Paris. I happened to perform to Jacob’s composition. There was another Butoh dancer Denis, who was the original collaborator with me, but he unfortunately became very ill. He was performing to René’s composition. I was challenged by Jacob’s composition, which was short, complex and something that I’ve never dreamt of performing to. It was difficult, but during the performance everything just came together. I liked Denis’ performance and the composition by René. Then I said to the three of them that my idea is the four of us to be in the same space, we as dancers creating the dance, and you as composers composing at the same time. I proposed to them to collaborate, it was a small project for Amsterdam.

Then I started to develop ideas about the Holocaust and Apartheid. At the same time, I was writing a poem, and the title was “The Wreckage Of My Flesh.” This poem was inspired by seeing images of the Holocaust. I just put everything – the Holocaust images and the Apartheid images – together. At that time, I got very ill. I was hospitalised, I had 3 surgeries. I was in a hospital and all these images were coming back to me, and I felt like I was a part of that. My body was just disintegrating. I felt that my flesh was becoming wrecked, so I just said, “The Wreckage Of My Flesh.”

Next thing was – what do I do with this? What was the main focus in this project? Is it about the Holocaust? Is it about Apartheid? Or is it about me hospitalised and dying in my hospital bed? Being a Butoh practitioner, I’m always working a lot with the body. And I say – it was about the body.

When I saw my parents in South Africa after a long time, their bodies were deformed, changed. Then I started to think about the people in the extermination camp. When their bodies were put in these ovens, what happened? I started to think about people who were banned in South Africa. My very best friend from growing up – I saw him being tortured and burned, I saw his body… So, this was about the disintegrating body that is changing, that is being deformed. 

Having experienced being in that hospital and fighting, affected me psychologically. It was a struggle. At the same time, I had to perform a piece. It was about dealing with the resistance to oppression, the resistance to the struggle. It was also about hope, about the fight against something, about resilience.

Thinking about these bodies as they were in the ovens or burning, I thought of the voice of their silent screams. I had this image of the body screaming. The body becoming the voice and screaming out. That voice became my inner self territory. For me, dance became my saviour, my healing notion. These voices in my head became like – “keep on dancing, keep on dancing and never stop to dance.” I had to dance to survive. I keep saying until today, if I didn’t dance, I probably would have kissed this life goodbye a long time ago. Dance has helped me to keep on going. Also, through dance, it helped me to resist. And never just stop and have that hope. 

People ask if this piece itself is about the Holocaust. It’s not. And it’s not about Apartheid. Even though I’m drawing resources from this human history of horrific events that happened in the past (unfortunately, they are still happening now), it’s also about the social crisis that we, as human beings, are finding ourselves in. It’s a silent way of saying something with the body, bringing out that pain, bringing out that suffering, addressing something that many would not actually address, through dance being the voice of the people who have been silenced.

I decided in this piece to use the genre of Butoh, which carries the body’s resistance to gravity. For me, it’s a strong way of taking the body out of the comfort zone into an unknown territory. At the same time, it’s something about an inner freedom, which is experienced through Butoh or through the ritualistic dancing and even through electronic music, which also has its own way of resistance.

You have mentioned the Butoh genre. What thoughts and feelings do you have during the performance of Butoh dance? How does Butoh stand out from other genres? 

It’s a transcendence into another world. I work a lot with spirituality, and I try to connect this with ritual dance and with my Butoh practice. For me, it’s always like a spiritual journey. I always have a feeling that I’m transcending from one life to the other. I’m transcending from the existence into the non-existence. 

Butoh gives me this feeling of going into a deep subconscious world. I’m on a plain of that higher level of spirituality or maybe existence. But at the same time, I always have questions at the back of my head. Where are you going with this? Every question that I have raises a different feeling, a different thought. So, it’s never the same.

It’s still a growing thing inside of me. I cannot say I’m an excellent Butoh dancer or I’m a bad Butoh dancer. I’m a Butoh practitioner, I just practise. I developed my own concept of Afro-Butoh. I could say Butoh has actually enriched my dance career. I’m looking at dance and myself as a dancer from a different perspective, understanding my body, my thoughts.

How does Butoh genre stand out from the other genres? Well, the first thing, people are afraid of it. [laughing] When we talk about Butoh, they say, “Oh, is that one about ugly bodies and death?” It’s the way people respond to Butoh. People don’t want to deal with something that has to do with pain, suffering and death. Especially with death and darkness. I always say to people, in that ugliness there’s beauty, in that darkness there’s light.

Tebby Ramasike, K. Jurevičiūtės nuotr.

Let us pause for a moment to consider beauty, light, and dance – what, in your opinion, is the dance in the context of tragedy and traumatic experiences? A tool to empathize with other people's experiences? A way of healing?...

It’s not an easy question to answer, but I will try. If I look at it from the general point of view, it’s not that very easy, but for myself personally, it’s actually easy to work with dance and express traumatic or tragic experiences, because I dealt a lot with that. Even though people always say that I’m very happy, my world is actually tragic or traumatic. 

I take a lot of people’s tragic and traumatic experiences into me, I listen to their stories. Sometimes I do make their stories my story. I basically put myself into their situation. When I start to do that, then sometimes I can create something out of that. Through dance it’s easier for me to express this. I also find that through dance it helps to heal myself. I could be caring so much and everything could be happening to me, but once I start to put this into dance, I feel this healing notion. As people have said to me, I’m bringing light into the darkness of their lives and I’m healing them. That’s why I’m always looking at my work from that spiritual healing notion. 

One should not say, “Oh, my piece is gonna be about traumatic experiences.” I think if I start to say that, my dancers will rush out of the door. And I think if I tell the public that, they are not gonna come and see the performance. [laughing] It’s something that you keep into the work. A traumatic experience is not something that you put on the table just like that. It’s inside of somebody. Everybody deals with trauma in a different way. Every traumatic experience is on a different level as well.

In some of my dances, actually, I do express a lot of my traumatic experiences, which scares me at times. Then the problem becomes, what is the audience feeling when I go through a traumatic stage? Dealing with that through dance also helps me to release something, it heals me, it cleanses me. It’s like a ritual for me. It becomes like a ceremonial journey. Dance for me, and I think for many people, is healing, therapeutic. It’s a shame that many people don’t see it that way. They only see it as a hobby, as just dancing. They don’t realise that when you dance, there is something inside of a person that is happening. Dance brings joy, life, light, dance heals many people. 

Let us go back to your performance at the Ninth Fort. An international team is contributing to it. Could you please introduce your team members?

I’m just gonna make a short introduction about them. I will start with René. René Baptist Huysmans is from Amsterdam. He is a composer and sound artist. He specialises in collages of electronic sounds and field recordings. 

Jacob Elkin is from New York in the USA. He is a multi-instrumentalist. He is teaching at the United Nations International School and he is a specialist in electronic microtonal music. Don’t ask me what that is… This is why his music is very complex. All these terms… It’s not the same electronic music that we know. [laughing]

Denis Sanglard was the original member of the team, but because of health problems, he couldn’t continue with the project. He’s a Butoh dancer and an actor. He’s still very much involved in the piece, but more like on the sideline, as a coach or just giving feedback. 

And then we have Ellen Knops, who is from Amsterdam. She is our lighting designer, and she loves to improvise and play around with the location. She’s the person who goes to a location and sees what the energy of the location is and what it gives her to do with the lights. She worked on many of my productions. She’s a fantastic person to work with. 

Then we have Anne Oomen. She’s from Noord-Brabant. She’s a Dutch fashion textile designer. She specialises in silk. She works a lot with dancers, with movement. She was also a dancer herself as well. She translates a fascination for dance into the smooth movement of silk. Her work is very interesting to see on the body of the dancer. That’s also why I chose her. For many years we wanted to work together, this is finally the first project. She gets her inspiration from abstract painters and modern artists. 

And then we have Elizabeth Damour. She’s from Paris. She’s a French Butoh performer, psychotherapist. She enjoys sharing, transmitting and connecting with the continuous development process. She works with young people as well. Elizabeth actually first joined the project as my assistant, not as the dancer. Then eventually, when Denis couldn’t continue, the only solution was Elizabeth. 

Now we have Zo Fan. She’s an external artist in the project. She’s actually Bruce’s assistant. She was suggested by Bruce to be our videographer. She’s from Singapore, but she lives in Paris. She’s a film director, photographer and videographer. 

Many people contributed to the project as well. It’s not only us; there are other people who are involved from the outside.

Your performance will be closely related to the exhibition by the artist Bruce Clarke exhibited at Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum – the dance will be performed in its background. What is the relation between the exhibition and the performance? How do they complement each other?

It’s interesting, because I didn’t know Bruce in the beginning. Frank [Frank Schroeder, the director of the National Museum of Resistance and Human Rights] knew my work and he knew Bruce, so he had invited Bruce to do the exhibition [in Luxembourg]. But I think when he saw Bruce’s work, then he saw me. The first time I saw Bruce’s sculptures, it was like: “Where did you find me?” [laughing] I also saw myself. I think it became like an instant connection.

What actually attracted me to Bruce was his background, which was like born in the UK, having a Jewish family, and [relations] with Lithuania, and the family in the Holocaust, and living in South Africa, being part of the Apartheid struggle. Then I saw his works and I was totally seduced. I wanted to know more about his works and I started to have ideas. What also grabbed me was his work in Rwanda with the genocide. I was just thinking, “These all are traumatic. These tragic situations that brought up a lot of trauma in people’s lives.” And I liked this because this was Tebby. [laughing] So, I thought, “I’m not going to have fear of actually trying to relate to his work. I’m just going to be an open book.” 

In the past, I used to have artists that I would dance what they have painted or their sculptures. But now it’s different. We try to tell our stories in a different way and yet complement each other. What we also decided to devise, is this inter-dialogue between me and these sculptures, how I use them, because they have to be another performer.

This is something very interesting about the Ninth Fort Museum, it’s something that actually came to my mind: if we have these sculptures of Bruce and I’m relating to this installation and leaving the space, what happens? My idea is that you build up this relationship with these sculptures and you leave, and that relationship should still stay there even if my physical body is not there. It should stay within those sculptures because they’ve been part of the performance. It’s something that is possible because I always have this thing that an energy, that has been established, even when you leave the space should stay. I mean, when I went to the Ninth Fort Museum, even when I left, I could still breathe that energy. 

What happens to me? This is another thing, the relationship between the installation and the dance. What happens to me as I dance with those sculptures, as I connect to those sculptures? What happens to me afterwards when I leave as a dancer? Do you just leave and then forget about them? No. I could choose to do that, but I don’t want to do that, because they are alive. It’s a major piece of artwork, so very important. I really have found something powerful in Bruce’s work that can actually enrich the dance. 

Tebby Ramasike, K. Jurevičiūtės nuotr.

Finally, the last question – why, in your opinion, it is important and necessary for today's person to remember traumatic experiences such as the Holocaust?

What happened in the past and what happened during the Holocaust is building our future. It’s part of our history. Whether you are Jewish, whether you are African, whether you are European... It’s part of us, it’s not only part of the Jewish community. It’s part of the world we live in. And, unfortunately, what happened during the Holocaust is actually coming back – it’s happening now. Even on a different scale, even in a different way… But I see it growing. I see it coming back in France: the nationalists are coming back. Then there’s Putin. He wants to be the master race, like Russia has to be the master race again as Hitler wanted Nazi Germany to be the master race. 

Of course, people don’t want to deal with trauma, they want to distance themselves from the Holocaust. It was not a tragic story, it was really traumatic, something that kills the spirit of humanity. To be able to keep that as a memory is to believe, to understand it and to put it in that place of importance. It’s not just an event that happened and you leave it behind. It’s an important event in our historical lives as human beings. And it's really necessary for the generation now, our generation in the past, the generation in the future, to understand it, to remember it, to know that it happened. Because it will happen. We have already been saying that history repeats itself. 

I just hope that the world will open up, believe, and finally say, “We understand,” and stop being in denial. The Holocaust did happen, traumatic experiences that people have gone through have happened and we cannot deny that. It’s a shame, because that denial is actually bringing up a lot of violence, which is scary.

The interview was prepared by Henrika Kryževičienė

The performance “The Wreckage Of My Flesh” by Tebby W. T. Ramasike will be performed at Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum on 24th of September, 2022. More information about the event can be found at Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum website: www.9fortomuziejus.lt/?lang=en  

The project is a part of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 programme.

The project is implemented by Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum and Kaunas 2022

Information partners: LRT, “Kauno diena”, KB “Katos grupė” | ACM

Partners: National Museum of Resistance and Human Rights (Luxembourg), Esch 2022


Kaunas School of Arts celebrates its centenary: invites to an exhibition and international conference

Kaunas School of Arts celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022. To mark it, the international scientific conference “Art for a Modern Country in a Modern City” and the supporting exhibition “Before ... and after 100 years” will also be part of the events of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022.

The occasion marks the importance of higher studies in fine arts for modern art culture and the impact on the subsequent development and transformation of that culture.

The international scientific conference, dedicated to the anniversary, invites the participants to explore the significance of art studies for modernity; highlight their links with the processes of formation of modern states and cities, and discuss the historical, current and future state of education in fine arts and its relevant issues. It is expected to reflect on the history of the Kaunas School of Arts, its origins and evolution in the context of the city’s historical, political or economic changes and reveal parallels with other European art schools of the first half of the 20th century and the modernist movement in a new way. The conference also aims to highlight the activities of the personalities who founded the School and studied here – artists, pedagogues, architects, and art historians – and the links between their creative work and the local, national and global context of fine arts and reveal the origins and continuity of the traditions of the Kaunas School of Arts.

Conference dates: 15 September, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 16 September, 9:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Venue: the National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum, Music Hall (V. Putvinskio Str. 55, Kaunas).

Conference speakers: Prof. Dr habil. Antanas Andrijauskas (LT), Prof. Dr Stanislavas Mostauskis (LT), associate prof. Dr Ramutė Rachlevičiūtė (LT), associate prof. Dr Aušrinė Cemnolonskė (LT), Dr Stella Pelše (LV), Margus Meinart (EE), Dr Theodor Liho (BG), Yaroslav Kravchenko (UA), Lina Mumgaudytė (LT), associate prof. Dr Aušra Vasiliauskienė (LT), Rūta Marija Purvinaitė (LT), associate prof. Dr Inese Sirica (LV), Šelda Puķīte (EE), Dr Lijana Natalevičienė (LT), Prof. Dr Raimonda Simanaitienė (LT), Dr Aistė Dičkalnytė (LT), Daina Zozaitė (LT), associate prof. Dr Odeta Žukauskienė (LT), Dr Vilma Gradinskaitė (LT), Vaida Sirvydaitė (LT), Lina Hall (LT), Ilona Mažeikienė (LT), associate prof. Dr Rasa Butvilaitė (LT), associate prof. Dr Lina Preišegalavičienė (LT), associate prof. Dr Vaida Almonaitytė-Navickienė (LT).

More information about the events is available here.


September in Kaunas – world renowned names, premieres and exhibition openings: what not to miss?

Yoko Ono

Autumn’s first month is once again inviting us to return to cinema, theatre, and concert halls. September also brings a host of European Capital of Culture premieres, from the launch of the modernist film Folds (Klostės) to the long-awaited Kaunas Cantata and the opening of Yoko Ono’s exhibition. Kaunas 2022 is pleased to share their recommendations on what to see and what not miss in the autumnal city.

Yoko Ono’s retrospective exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom

The Learning Garden of Freedom is a retrospective exhibition of Yoko Ono’s work organized in collaboration with Studio One in New York, founded by the artist herself, the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, and Kaunas Picture Gallery in Kaunas. The exhibition presents an overview of Yoko Ono’s works, including various creative periods and practices ranging from conceptual art and experimental films to spatial installations, objects and performance art.

When: 10 September – 4 December
Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery, K. Donelaičio St. 16
See here for more information.

Fluxus festival, Martynas Plepys.

Fluxus Festival

On 10 September, Kaunas welcomes a return of the Fluxus Festival, organized by the Kaunas 2022 community programme Fluxus Labas. A festival that has become a tradition in the city will, this year, evolve into the biggest event of its kind ever. Expect the unexpected in original performances by Lithuanian and foreign artists who love to smile at life as well as the flamboyant climb up the Parodos Hill, the highlight of the festival.

When: Fluxus Climb – 10 September, 10 p.m.
Where: Parodos Hill
See here for more information

Litvak Culture Forum by Kaunas 2022

On 29–30 September, Kaunas 2022 will invite Litvaks scattered throughout the world to return, even if only briefly, to their ancestral land and gather at the Litvak Culture Forum for Kaunas residents and visitors. Over several days, this event will feature a rich cultural programme and discussions with renowned artists, researchers, and cultural figures, and is open to everyone interested in the city’s history. Guest speakers include: Prof. Antony Polonsky, Prof. Peter Salovey, Prof. Tsvia Walden, artists Michael Shubitz and Bruce Clarke, and many others. Patron of the Forum – Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė. Honorary patron – Prof. Liudas Mažylis

When: 29–30 September
Where: Great Hall, Vytautas Magnus University, S. Daukanto St. 28
See here for the full programme.

Foto from Julius Balašaitis.

Kaunas Cantata

An extraordinary immersive musical experience, created especially for Kaunas and the people who love it. Composer Philip Miller and visual artist Jenny Kagan, together with Lithuanian music performers, will invite the audience to choose what to listen to and what to hear. The work was inspired by Kaunas residents’ personal testimonies, memories, as well as the rich and diverse world of sounds.

When: 30 September – 1 October 1, 7 p.m.
Where: Kaunas Žalgiris Arena
Book your tickets here.

Interactive exhibition Out of Darkness

Artist Jenny Kagan, daughter of Juozapas Kagan and Margarita Štromaitė from Kaunas, grew up in the United Kingdom, surrounded by stories of pre-war and wartime Lithuania. In the exhibition Out of Darkness, she brings the extraordinary story of her parents’ survival in Kaunas during the Holocaust to life. The exhibition’s setting, including images, music, video projections, and other elements, immerses the viewers in a narrative that is both personal and universal.

When: until 30 October
Where: Gimnazijos St. 4
Book your tickets here.

Jenny Kagan „Out of Darkness“, Linas Žemgulis.

Conference Modernism for the Future. Interpretations

Modernism for the Future. Interpretations, a conference that has already become an annual tradition, will symbolically conclude the five-year programme. Curated by Vaidas Petrulis, the event is expected to foster debate and dialogue between a wide range of experts in different fields. Speakers from Lithuania and abroad will share best practices and insights on modernism as an inspiration for creativity and discuss cases of artistic communication of modernist architecture as well as their relevance in considering possible visions for the future of heritage.

When: 21–22 September
Where: Amphitheatre of Kaunas Žalgiris Arena and other locations
See here for the full programme.

Klostės

Premiere Klostės / Folds

Klostės / Folds is a 67-minute black and white silent film made by artist Aideen Barry and the residents of Kaunas. On 22–24 September, the film will be premiering in Kaunas at Romuva Cinema which will be opening its doors to visitors again after reconstruction. The film was inspired by Kaunas modernist architecture and the magical stories that lie within it. It was a unique two-year creative process that brought together over 600 local residents and professional artists.

When: 22–24 September
Where: Romuva Cinema

Cultural experiences in Kaunas district

In September, Kaunas district will once again become a centre of attraction. The project Contemporary Neighbourhoods will invite everyone to Rokai, Lapės, Linksmakalnis, and Kačerginė to join a number of colourful festivals organized by local communities. Cultural surprises also await in Zapyškis. The former dredger Nemuno7 will host the Agents exhibition, the fourth part of the Fluid Bodies exhibition series, and participating artists of the OSTRALE Biennial residency will present the results of their work in 3 marine containers situated on the banks of the Nemunas.

When, where: Rokai (03/09), Lapės (03/09), Linksmakalnis (10/09), Kačerginė (04/09), Agents exhibition (until 21/09), OSTRALE contemporary art exhibition (from 05/10)

Magenta, organizatorių nuotr.

Magenta Landscape Design Festival

Which comes first – nature in the city or the city in nature? Magenta Landscape Design Festival will invite you to reflect on this question between 9–25 September. Residents of Kaunas and Kaunas district will have a chance to enjoy almost 20 new objects of design, tactical urbanism, and landscape design, and a rich festival programme.

When: 9–25 September
Where: Kaunas
Organizer: public institution Šeimos laikas
See here for more information.

Kaunas Architecture Festival East-East

The international project East-East for professionals and the general public is returning to the programme of the Kaunas Architecture Festival. It is the result of a long-term cooperation which has laid the foundations for a previously non-existent architectural exchange between Lithuania and Japan. The festival’s programme includes a forum, exhibitions, lectures by professionals, and a competition for architecture students.

When: 22 September – 22 October
Where: Kaunas Central Post Office, Žalgiris Arena amphitheatre
Visit www.kafe.lt and www.laskaunas.lt for more information.

Flash Voyage

Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage

September marks the last month of Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage. The Town Hall Square has already hosted many representatives of the music, theatre, and even gaming scenes from Lithuania and abroad. This month, the Golden Parazyth, Gischt (AT), Rūta MUR, Tim Freitag (CH), ABUDU and many others will appear on stage.

When: until 17 September
Where: Kaunas Town Hall Square
See here for more information about free concerts and events.

Dorian by Robert Wilson

The play Dorian marks a historical event in the history of Kaunas National Drama Theatre and Kaunas culture. Robert Wilson, one of the world’s most renowned contemporary theatre directors and stage designers, in collaboration with Dhouse (Düsseldorf, DE), will tell the Kaunas audience the tale of a pleasure-seeking prince who cannot find himself in the time he lives in.

When: the play premieres on 1, 2 and 7 October.
Where: Laisvės Av. 71
Organizers: Kaunas National Drama theatre
Book your tickets here.

Summer is ending but culture continues

The much-loved project Culture in the Courtyards continues, this time visiting Aleksotas. The role of culture and artistic ideas in the debate on Europe’s future will be further reinforced by a session of the European Parliament of Culture. Yoko Ono’s installation Ex It will be entering its final days, and the CityTelling Festival will revive historical memory. The full Kaunas 2022 programme is available at www.kaunas2022.eu or on the mobile app.


The biggest Litvak Culture Forum in Lithuania will gather lovers of culture and history

M. Plepio nuotr.

Culture enthusiasts are welcome in Kaunas on 29-30 September. The first Litvak Culture Forum will take place here. The Forum, initiated by the Kaunas 2022 programme “Memory Office”, will be followed by a varied programme of art events in different parts of the city.

Academics, historians, museum professionals, education experts, representatives of the art world, and community members - the Forum will bring together dozens of speakers from various fields and countries. Many of the guests will be visiting the land of their ancestors for the first time - these experiences are crucial in an event that raises the question of what it means to be a Litvak. Other themes of the Forum include culture and art as a key to history and the perpetuation of memory as a way to build a better future and promote openness and dialogue.

Williamo Kentridgo paroda, M. Plepio nuotr.

Returning to the Roots

According to Daiva Price, curator of the Kaunas 2022 “Memory Office” programme, the Litvak Culture Forum is a summary of the programme’s efforts and projects started in 2017. “For five years we have been trying to remind people that Kaunas has always been a multiethnic city and that the Jewish or Litvak part of its history is an important part of its identity. Through various art projects, we have talked about the complex pages of the city’s history, World War II and the tragedy of the Holocaust. So during the Forum, we will try to summarise what Litvak identity is and how art helps us to understand the history and remember,” intrigues the curator.

According to Ms Price, it is important that not only Lithuanian artists have been involved in this dialogue about the wounds of our history, but the project has also encouraged Litvak artists and scholars to return to the land of their ancestors. One of them is Prof. Peter Salovey, a descendant of the famous Soloveitchik family from Kaunas, a Litvak and President of Yale University:  “The Forum is, therefore, a great opportunity to revisit our common past, to meet and reflect on the future, to discuss what kind of future we want for this city, and how (or if) art can help us to understand the history better and learn from its mistakes.”

M. Plepio nuotr.

Artists and Academia

Lithuanian and international artists such as writer and art curator Paulina Pukytė, Lina Šlipavičiūtė-Černiauskienė (project “Walls That Remember”), Jyll Bradley (UK), who has brought back the mezuzahs to the streets of Kaunas, translator of Leah Goldberg’s book “A Flat for Rent” writer Daiva Čepauskaitė, artist Sigutė Chlebinskaitė, among many others.

Prof. Violeta Davoliūtė, a researcher of the politics of memory in East-Central Europe, will represent the academic community, as well as a large group of scholars from all over the world. Among them are Prof. Antony Polonsky, Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, author of numerous monographs (PAR/UK), Prof. Peter Salovey, Professor of Social Psychology, President of Yale University, Honorary Doctor of the VMU (USA), Prof. Tsvia Walden, Psycholinguist (IL), and others.

L. Žemgulio nuotr.

Rich Cultural Programme

During the days of the Forum, special musical projects will be presented to the participants and guests at Žalgirio Arena. On 29 September, a concert of Yiddish songs by Marija Krupoves, dedicated to the Jewish memory of the city and the special spirit of Kaunas is scheduled. On 30 September and 1 October, the focus will be on the premier of Kaunas Cantata by composer Philip Miller and artist Jenny Kagan. The Cantata tells the complex story of historical upheaval, the Holocaust, deportations and personal trauma, and the traces it has left in the lives of generations and individuals in the language of music, texts and images. The premiere will be performed by over 200 musicians, the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra, choirs and various ensembles.

During the Litvak Culture Forum, a number of unexpected artistic events will take place in Kaunas, helping to broaden the context of the discussions and to extend the conversations. n born in Israel, "Bringing back to Kaunas" will be presented in the central building of VMU. On 28 th of September the photography exhibition by Michael Shubitz, a Lithuanian born in Israel, "Bringing back to Kaunas" will be presented in the central building of VMU, while, the Emanuel Levinas Centre at LSMU will host a concert-narrative entitled “The Music Shell”, during which an international group of artists will perform original music inspired by Jewish folk songs, ceremonial music and professional music.

On the 29th of September,  two musical events will be happening in the city: a performance by pianist Aleksandr Paley and clarinet master Karolis Kolakauskas and the concert "After Shagal“. The recently deceased composer Anatolijus Šenderovas said of this later work: “[It] is full of symbols - the clarinet recalls the former Jewish life in Europe, the percussion and the string quartet are like an allusion to the biblical world.”  The work will be performed by the Chordos String Quartet, clarinettist Algirdas Žiūra and percussionist Arkadijus Gotesmanas.

The programme of events will also include exhibitions that are already in place and have been attracting a great deal of interest from the city’s inhabitants and visitors, such as William Kentridge’s “That Which we do not Remember” and Jenny Kagan’s “Out of Darkness”.

Participants will also be invited to visit Kaunas Fortress IX, where artists Bruce Clarke (FR) and Tebby W. T. Ramasike (NL) will present the visual art and contemporary dance work “Ecce Homo:  Those who Stayed”.

The patron of the Lithuanian cultural forum is Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė. Patrons of honour - prof. Liudas Mažylis and Faina Kukliansky, chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Partners - Vytautas Magnus University and the Lithuanian Jewish Community.

More information about the events is available here.

 


The first half of the European Capital of Culture ends: a record number of visitors and international media attention

Kaunas is in the midst of the year as the European Capital of Culture, with over 1,000 planned events that will change the cultural face not only of the city but also of the whole country. From record-breaking numbers of visitors to increased media attention, the team of Kaunas 2022 reveals the results of the first half of the year.

“By August, more than 600 events – exhibitions, theatre plays, festivals and concerts – had already been organised in Kaunas and Kaunas district. We estimate that in the first half of the year, more than 800,000 people visited them and more than 6,000 professionals contributed to the programme. It is not just the numbers that are pleasing, but every day we also feel that people are engaged. From the very first day, we wanted it to be a community project that would involve in culture as many residents of the city, professionals, and the young generation as possible,” Virginija Vitkienė, Head of “Kaunas 2022”, says.

Marinos Abramovič paskaita, Martyno Plepio nuotr.

Record number of people at events

The most awaited and the most attended event of the “Kaunas 2022” programme was the visit of the Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović and the opening of her retrospective exhibition “Memory of Being”. The public lecture by Abramović was attended by 6,000 admirers of the artist and the exhibition was visited by over 25,000 visitors. Other exhibitions have been equally well attended, for example, more than 27,000 visitors attended the exhibition “That Which We Do Not Remember” by Kentridge, which runs until the end of the year.

The events of the Contemporary Trilogy of Kaunas Myth were also very popular. In January, over 150,000 people watched the cultural “Uprising” in Kaunas in front of the whole of Europe, and in May, “The Confluence” weekend attracted over 300,000 cultural enthusiasts.

“It is not only the involvement of Kaunas residents that is encouraging, but also the fact that the city is becoming increasingly more interesting to the international audience. By July, around 20,000 tourists had visited Kaunas. I think that the well-known names, the events of Capital of Culture have helped to reach the people in countries of Europe. Visitors from abroad are interested in Kaunas modernism, exhibitions, and the newly opened CulturEUkraine Centre for Ukrainian creators. We welcome many Germans, Italians and people from neighbouring countries – Poland, Latvia and Estonia. It is great to see that increasingly more people are coming to Kaunas not for half a day, but for a whole weekend or a few days – there are increasingly more activities to be found here,” Mindaugas Reinikis, Head of the Communication and Marketing Department, says.

Williamo Kentridge‘o paroda. M. Plepio nuotr.

Increased media attention

According to Mr Reinikis, it was the subject of the European Capital of Culture that was most prominent in the foreign media. “During these six months, Kaunas was visited by 144 journalists from 19 countries. Articles, interviews and reports were produced, reaching a large foreign audience.”

“Kaunas 2022” was mentioned in articles in as many as 62 countries, including not only European countries, but also the USA, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. Readers of media portals such as the BBC, CNN, TIME, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Deutsche Welle and the Financial Times have learned about Kaunas.

Istorijų festivalis, Andriaus Aleksandravičiaus nuotr.

Even more culture as autumn approaches

According to the Director of “Kaunas 2022” Vitkienė, the impressive results of the first half of the year are not yet final. “These figures only reflect statistics for the months from January to June. In the summer, we invited visitors to several events: the contemporary city festival “Audra”, the performing arts festival “ConTempo”, and the Citytelling festival. Finally, the autumn will be full of events. Therefore, we are looking forward to sharing even better results at the beginning of 2023.”

The upcoming autumn will indeed bring even more cultural experiences to Kaunas. The following events that started in the summer will continue until the end of November: the Festival of Stories that will continue to revive the multi-ethnic memory of Kaunas and its surroundings, Jenny Kagan’s exhibition “Out of the Darkness”, which will present the history of the Kaunas Ghetto, the exhibition “The Learning Garden of Freedom”, which will be dedicated to the works of Yoko Ono, the premiere of the film “Folds”, a film that has travelled around the world, which is devoted to the modernism of Kaunas, and the Fluxus Festival, which is loved by the residents of the city.

The full programme of “Kaunas 2022” is available at www.kaunas2022.eu or on the mobile app.


Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage Not to be Stopped by Calendar: Concerts Scheduled Through September

Golden Parazyth, photo by D. Babenskas.

The rhythm of the contemporary capital of Kaunas does not succumb to the traditional limits of seasons. Launched in May, the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage, located in Town Hall Square, continues its marathon of concerts with ten evenings planned for September. The repertoire includes performances by the Lithuanian ambassadors of the European Capital of Culture and their international counterparts and concerts by two unique orchestras.

Highlights of the Summer Festivals

After memorable festival tours, the Kaunas Town Hall Square will be home to many of the brightest stars of the Lithuanian alternative music scene in September. On 2 September, Flash Voyage will be hitting their home turf. After the band's spectacular performance at the Audra festival in July, the Kaunas-based psychedelic rockers promise to tell more than one guitar-based fairy tale heard in the woods or dreamt up by the lake.

You won't have to wait long for the next chance to sing along - on 3 September, Golden Parazyth will climb on the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage and invite the crowd to search for the light. The evening's programme will include the most memorable sunsets, beautiful tree shades, fragrant plants and the wildest animal noises.

Another European Capital of Culture ambassador, who paints even the greyest skies pink during her performances, is also on her way to Kaunas. Rūta MUR, the Klaipėda-based electronic music artist, will throw a concert in Town Hall Square on 16 September. That evening, GISCHT, or Ursula Winterauer from Vienna, will share the stage with Rūta. In her creations, the Austrian artist explores the grey areas between ambient music and slow techno.

The last highlight of the Kaunas 2022 summer stage on 17 September will be sparked by Abudu, whose latest album 'Gaisras (Fire)' is still smouldering in the players of the fans of alternative sound. 'Between lyricism and rebellion' is not only the motto of Abudu but also that of the Swiss band Tim Freitag, who will be closing the open-air concert venue together with Lithuanians. This band is sure to make you cry. The only question is: from joy or sadness?

Rūta Mur

Two Unique Orchestras

Orchestra concerts have already become a tradition on the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage. The last month of the extended season has two special guests. On the afternoon of 4 September, the refreshing sounds of strings and brass instruments will fill the Old Town of Kaunas, as the Lithuanian Joint Klezmer Orchestra will deliver a special programme. The Rakija Klezmer Orkestar, percussionist Arkadijus Gotesmanas and violinist Boris Kirzneris will come together, especially for this year's CityTelling festival. The orchestra will invite you to bring back the tradition of klezmer, or Jewish folk, which almost disappeared after the Second World War.

The following exceptional guests on the Kaunas 2022 summer stage will arrive on 15 September from a Kaunas' partner city in Poland. The Toruń Improvisers Orchestra couldn't have chosen a better venue for their programme dedicated to the poet Adam Mickiewicz. After all, it was at the Jesuit Gymnasium in Town Hall Square where he once taught! The essence of the orchestra's project 'Local Landscape: Ballads and Romances' is to show the universality and cosmos of meanings of Mickiewicz's 'Ballads and Romances' in relation to contemporary times, culture and contemporary art. This year, the book turns 200 and 2022 in Poland is the Year of Polish Romanticism.

Costume Workshop and Rehearsal Before the Fluxus Festival 

One of the most anticipated events at the beginning of Autumn in Kaunas, when Parodos Hill will be closed to cars after dark and opened to the motley crowd of dressers, is the Fluxus Festival. On 10 September, this event will take place for the fifth time, so every Kaunas resident living in Fluxus's spirit must dress accordingly. Those who are yet to create their own Fluxus alter ego are welcome on 9 September from 5 pm at the Town Hall Square. ‘You will find the necessary tools in the workshop, but if you want to bring glitter, ribbons, wigs, boxes and other tools that are sleeping in the cupboards, you are welcome to do so and turn them into the craziest costume,' the organisers say.

Tomorrow’s Music in the Heart of Lithuania

What’s Next In Music, a showcase festival and conference traditionally held in the capital in September, will also visit Kaunas this year. On 10 September, the bright stars of tomorrow will take to the stage of the European Capital of Culture.

The programme will feature the Kaunas-based French singer Clara Giambino, the Vilnius post-punk band Local Blood, the Italy-based Albanian electronic music duo Shkodra Elektronike and the Estonian Andres Kõpper who will introduce himself as NOËP.

Tim Freitag, photo by Nadja Stäubli.

The European Capital of Culture programme in Kaunas and the Kaunas region continues throughout the year, with hundreds of traditional and debut events planned for 2022, including exhibitions, festivals, performances and other activities created by local and international artists and Kaunas communities. For the complete Kaunas 2022 programme, please visit www.kaunas2022.eu or the mobile app.


Karl-Erik Norrman: it’s very important to defend European values today

“This year, it’s very important to defend European values: in times of war and opposition against democracy, human rights, freedom of movement etc. That will be one of the main reasons of our meeting in Kaunas. We also think it’s significant that we’re meeting in a university – here we will discuss the promotion of the role of universities in European cultural cooperation”, says ambassador Karl Erik Norrman, founder and Secretary General of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP). On 8–11 September, he will participate in the ECP’s session in Lithuania – at Vytautas Magnus University and the premises of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022.

During the session of the European Cultural Parliament, Kaunas will be visited by ECP members, which include independent artists, writers, musicians, historians, philosophers, designers and representatives of other cultural fields from Great Britain, Sweden, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and other European countries. During the session, discussions, creative workshops and exhibition openings will be held. At the events, which will open to the public, topics related to Europe and its culture will be discussed: the role of universities in the European capitals of culture, cultural diplomacy, the role of culture in the context of war and other matters. Understandably, Ukraine will also be remembered: not just in discussions but in exhibitions as well. At VMU Great Hall, an exhibition by Ukrainian photographer Oleksandr Zakletsky will be exhibited.

“You can say that this year Ukraine is becoming a symbol of cultural diplomacy. In these very difficult times, Ukraine is doing a great job. We hear and see a lot of Ukrainian artists promoting their case as Europeans, as democrats etc. President Zelenskyy himself is a great cultural diplomat, he’s speaking to the whole world about European values”, – explains Karl-Erik Norrman, who is not only one of the founders of the ECP but also works as a lecturer of cultural diplomacy at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. According to him, the importance of cultural diplomacy is growing every year.

The Secretary General of the ECP also has many compliments to Lithuania and Kaunas, which is the European Capital of Culture this year and is holding various cultural events. “It is a very good program, and you’re doing it in a very tough time, with a lot of threats and pressure from your big neighbour. I think the Lithuanian approach is really to be praised. Our slogan is “to put culture first”, and we hope that Lithuania will continue to put culture first”, Karl-Erik Norrman says, expressing admiration of the program of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture.

He is also glad that in October, the VMU Agriculture Academy in Lithuania will host an international conference organised by the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC). This network aims to strengthen the role of universities in the events of European Capitals of Culture.

“This cooperation is very important: it will certainly inspire other universities to more actively participate in the cultural capitals. I think VMU is better than European average in this regard. Generally, I think it’s very important for universities to promote humanities and arts in their syllabus so that their place would not be taken by the more “concrete” sciences. I’d encourage VMU to take a strong role in promoting culture and cultural cooperation”, says the ECP Secretary General.

The European Cultural Parliament was founded in 2001, in the premises of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, in order to ensure that independent artists would be heard in order to balance the growing influence of technocracy. “Ethical and aesthetic values must be the essence of a new European Society. We also say that culture is the core of society and creativity is the source of human existence. ECP aims to amplify the voices of independent artists and to intensify the dialogue between artists and other creative individuals. So we’ve created a forum at the ECP for continuing dialogue year after year, for 28 years. We might say that we give globalisation a kind of human dimension through this forum”, claims Karl-Erik Norrman.

In total, ECP has 160 members from 43 European countries. The parliament organises various international projects, e.g. between musicians, philosophers and visual artists from Italy, Austria, Denmark and other countries. ECP has also contributed to political changes at the European level.

“An ECP research group looked at the economic role of culture in Europe. We came to the conclusion that the economic role of the creative sector had been underestimated before. We presented this report to the President of the European Commission and, as a result, the following year the EU started showing in its statistics that the cultural and creative sector represents some 3 percent of the total European GDP and almost 4 percent of the labour force. The people in the culture sector are working on a lower income level than the average but they are very important”, emphasises the Secretary General of the ECP, noting that the parliament contributed to changes in the European institutions’ agenda and promoting cooperation of European artists.

The European Cultural Parliament will hold its Kaunas session on 8–11 September at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) and the premises of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022. During the session, which is open to all representatives of culture and members of the public, various topics related to Europe and its culture will be discussed, including, but not limited to, the role of universities in the European capitals of culture and the culture of Europe in general as well as the particularly topical issues of cultural diplomacy and the role of culture in the context of war.

The founders of the ECP include Finland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Pär Stenbäck, former Swedish diplomat, opera soloist, professor of international relations Karl-Erik Norrman, author of The Illustrated History of Europe Frederique Delouche and others. Senators of the parliament:  Benjamin Bradshaw – former British Minister of Culture, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges – former Minister of Culture of Luxemburg, Memli Krasniqi – former Minister of Culture of Kosovo, Ivaylo Znepolski – former Minister of Culture of Bulgaria and others. Past members of the ECP included journalist Anna Politkovskaya and philosopher, culture politician Leonidas Donskis, who have sadly passed away. This year the ECP is joined by the Dean of VMU Faculty of Arts, Professor Jurgita Staniškytė, lecturer of VMU Music Academy, pianist Rimantas Vingras and head of Kaunas 2022 Virginija Vitkienė.

Participants of ECP Kaunas session must register online (HERE)  before 6 September.

The event will be held in English.

Detailed event program

Website of the European Cultural Parliament

The ECP Kaunas session is part of the program of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022.

About Karl-Erik Norrman

Ambassador Karl-Erik Norrman is founder (2002) and Secretary General of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP), the only Pan-European forum for cultural personalities of all sectors of Arts. The ECP has 160 members from 43 European countries.

As a Swedish diplomat for 30 years he served i. a. in Moscow, Beijing, Geneva and Rome, dealing mainly with foreign policy, trade negotiations, cultural affairs, development cooperation, humanitarian affairs and the United Nations. As Ambassador since 1989 he was posted in Spain and Swedish Commissioner General at EXPO 92 in Seville. In 1994, Karl-Erik Norrman was appointed the head of the Cultural Department of Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From 1995 he was Executive Member of the Commission for Sweden Promotion Abroad at the Foreign Ministry. Norrman has also been an opera soloist (tenor) and is the author of more than 30 books about democracy, world population matters, Germany, China, India, UN, theatre, opera, design, food and other topics. He participates in the public debate in Swedish, German, British, Scandinavian and other international media and conferences. Since 2010, he has been guest lecturer of cultural diplomacy and European affairs at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, ICD, in Berlin. He is member of several International Boards, e.g. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, London, Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Vizar Architectural Competition, Sofia, Music Mind Trust, Sussex, Harald Edelstam Human Rights Foundation, Stockholm, Fondazione Love Difference, Biella and Population Matters, London.


A long-awaited event in Lithuania: the exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom by the world-renowned artist Yoko Ono opens in autumn

Yoko Ono

On 10 September this year, the exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom by the world- renowned artist Yoko Ono will open at Kaunas Picture Gallery. The show will feature conceptual artworks, installations, objects, experimental films, performances, sound and text works. While waiting for the exhibition, Kaunas residents and guests are also invited to visit Yoko Ono’s installation Ex It currently on display at the Kaunas branch of the Bank of Lithuania. The installation works as the introductory part of the retrospective exhibition and will be on display until 11 September.

Yoko Ono (b. 1933, Tokyo) began her career in the 1950s. She worked closely with George Mačiūnas, the founder of the Fluxus movement, and her first solo exhibition (featuring works from the Instruction Paintings series) was held in 1961 at New York’s AG Gallery, also founded by Mačiūnas and Almus Salcius. In addition to her innovative paintings and performances, the artist later began to create objects, films and spatial installations, to bring other artists together in collaborative actions, and to invite the audience to actively engage in artistic processes. In her performances and other works, Yoko Ono raises issues closely related to the feminist movement, such as the female body and women’s empowerment in society. The artist’s name is also often associated with the pacifist movement, which remains more than relevant to this day.

One of the central components of Yoko Ono’s work are ideas. They can be serious or playful, utopian or poetic, expressed in words or actions, realised as objects and installations or simply in the imagination of the audience. Her work is highly political and social, not losing its relevance with the flow of time, encouraging the viewer to critically assess the world around them and, by using the language of art, to actively express one’s position on important socio-political issues. The Learning Garden of Freedom is an invitation to get to know Yoko Ono’s work and to reflect on the seriousness and playfulness of life as well as the power of imagination.

The exhibition is organised by the Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius, Lithuania) in collaboration with the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto, Portugal) and Yoko Ono’s studio Studio One (New York, US), and curated by the artist’s long-time friend and curator of Fluxus exhibitions, Jon Hendricks. It is a continuation of the exhibition held at the Serralves Museum in 2020, specially adapted for Kaunas, George Mačiūnas’ hometown. The exhibition is organised as part of the project Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 and will run until 4 December this year.


Japanese music concert. Tsugaru shamisen & taiko

This year marks the 100th anniversary of friendship between Japan and Lithuania. To celebrate this occasion, we are happy to invite you to a Japanese music concert, which will take place on September 2, 18:00 at Business Leaders Center BLC, lobby of the Building D (K.Donelaičio g. 62).

The concert will be provided by Hibiki Ichikawa (Japan), a traditional Japanese three-stringed instrument Tsugaru shamisen artist, together with his student Luke Burns (United Kingdom).

The concert is free of charge, however, the number of seats is limited.

Hibiki Ichikawa is a London based Tsugaru Shamisen player with over 15 years of experience in playing this unique and fascinating instrument. He first came to the United Kingdom in 2011. Officially recognized as a world leading talent of Tsugaru Shamisen, Hibiki regularly performs across the UK and Europe.

His professional activities include teaching more than 20 students and collaborating with several musicians and artists in a variety of projects. In 2016, he took part in the recording of the soundtrack for the BAFTA-winning stop-motion animated film “Kubo and the Two Strings”, produced by Laika Studios.

Luke Burns has been studying Tsugaru Shamisen and Taiko drums in London for 4 years. Luke is a student of Hibiki Ichikawa, the only professional Tsugaru Shamisen player in Europe, and learns Taiko from Liz Walters with the “Tamashii School of Taiko”.
Along with Joshua Green, another of Hibiki’s students, Luke is part of the duo "DENSHONEN", mixing Tsugaru Shamisen with Taiko and Guitar.

Both Hibiki and Luke have been appointed by “Nike” as their official brand ambassadors for DUNK shoe series.

Lets enjoy the sound of traditional Japanese music!

The event is organized by the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania.