Kaunas Town Hall

January 10th – March 31st

Lithuania in Litvak Arts

With the passing of the centuries, the Lithuanian Jewish community developed their Litvak identity which was inseparable from Lithuania. Lithuania has become a whole world to Jewish artists: mother, home, manuscript of wisdom, talisman, consolation, cracked earth, and place of tragic loss… They embraced Lithuania with love, longing and poetic melancholy.

 

The exhibition presents the certain aspects of the creative work of Litvak artists, which reveal the typifying and transformation of the image of Lithuania, starting with romantic historical Vilnius, native shtetls and the traditional Lithuanian landscape, and ending with the poor workers’ quarters, the ruins of the towns and Lithuania on the other side of the barbed wire fence.

 

The exhibition traces the search for the Litvak identity by Litvaks in a multicultural world, which manifests in a variety of ways, starting with memories of native places and writing in Lithuanian language, and ending with the change of surname into Litay (‘Lithuanian’ in Hebrew) after returning to the ancestral home.

 

The exhibition is based on the art, writings and photography collections of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. It has been supplemented with visual and documentary material kindly provided by other museums, archives and private collections of Lithuania, Poland, Israel, Italy, France, Russia, USA and Uruguay.

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