A Monument to the Empire, silver bromide print by Juozas Kazlauskas, 1989 (copyright Dalia Kazlauskiene). This train engine towed cattle cars filled with thousands of innocent deportees from Lithuania, and other Eastern European countries, until 1953, when Stalin died.
Kazlauskas was one of the first people to visit deportation sites and photo-document them. When he started exhibiting these images, the Soviet (later Russian) government, out of embarrassment, cleaned many of these sites up, so they no longer exist. Nevertheless, these governments never brought anyone to account for the 20 million genocidal murders that were committed by Stalin and his henchmen.
If you are in the vicinity, and if you can make it, please join me for the start of the fall sequence of events in the Hope & Spirit program. The title of this exhibit is to celebrate the human spirit’s ability to survive severe adversity. Survival by hope and spirit, despite overwhelming death and destruction, eventually led to the freedom of countries across Eastern Europe.
At 7 PM, Saturday, September 10, we will openning an exhibit of original photographs and letters from Siberia by Alexandras Stulginskis, a president of Lithuania. This exhibit was prepared by his granddaughter, Ramune Račkauskiene. Deporting a president of a country, to an almost certain death in Siberia, is witness to the brutality of the Stalin regime.
In addition, 54 original, hand-printed photographs by Juozas Kazlauskas (1941-2002) will be shown. These are all museum-quality photographs documenting the brutal hardships innocent people faced. Kazlauskas has been featured in several dozen one-man and group exhibitions in Lithuania, Bulgaria, France, Mexico, USA, Germany, Yugoslavia, Georgia, and Russia. On a historic and geographic level, this cycle of photographs is archivally significant as it documents the remains of Siberian barracks that have now vanished from the contemporary landscape. On an aesthetic level, the photographs consider the relationship between man, history and nature through the subtle play of light and dark in the images, asking the viewer to consider what cannot be seen as much as what can.
Despite tremendous drains on own my time-commitments, I was able to resume reviewing letters from Siberia. The latest posting deals with comments about the health care system in Siberia. Interesting reading for anyone concerned about the future of the US health care system:
On a different topic, that of the essence behind all existence, this brief discussion about information may be of interest:
Looking forward to seeing you Saturday, Audrius