KAUNAS PHOTO in Kybartai: Polish photographer’s exhibition in the land of his ancestors

On the 8th June 2019, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Kybartai municipality, KAUNAS PHOTO festival opens the premiere of Mariusz Forecki’s photography exhibition. Polish photographer-documentalist of Lithuanian origin has created this work during his art residencies in Kybartai. The exhibition “Neighbors I Could Not Know” will be displayed in the open air at the churchyard of the Catholic Church of the Eucharistic Saviour in Kybartai. A projection of photographs by M.Forecki will take place at the peak of the celebration, at 23:00 in I. Levitano square, which the photographer will inaugurate with the emotive exile history of his Klimai family from Stanaičiai village. The exhibition will be open throughout June.

Mariusz Forecki is known as a documentary photographer of Poland’s period of liberation and freedom. His series of photographs about Kybartai did not come by chance. Firstly, M.Forecki is a socially sensitive photographer, so borders is one of the important topics that he has been looking at for over a decade. Born in 1962 in Poznan (Poland), the photographer has Lithuanian roots. His mother, Prakseda Klimaitė, comes from Stanaičiai village located in Kybartai district. In 1944 the Klimai family, like many border residents, was deported to Germany for labor, but after capitulation was given permission to return to Lithuania. Due to the risk of deportation to Siberia or other repressions, the Klimai family stopped in Poland, where they began to develop a new life. The attraction to Lithuania has chased Mariusz throughout his life. After becoming a photographer, he has been visiting post-Soviet areas that were facing change and upheaval, and was one of the few foreign photographers working in Vilnius and Lithuanian Parliament during the January Events in 1991.

Mariusz Forecki “Neighbors I Could Not Know”

KAUNAS PHOTO festival annually presents the works of Lithuanian-origin photographers and invites them to art residencies in Lithuania. Thanks to the efforts of the Festival and Kybartai community, M.Forecki visited his mother’s homeland for four times. He was given the opportunity to observe the life of Kybartai up close and take pictures of the famous Kybartai Wind Orchestra, different local celebrations – from weddings to Halloween, cross-border activities, gray and colored Kybartai everyday life, its people. After the first visit to Kybartai, the photographer sent an emotional message to Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, the curator of the festival: “Look at this photo – it’s my land!”.

Mariusz Forecki “Neighbors I Could Not Know”. The land that belonged to Klimai family

The exhibition in Kybartai will feature several dozens of photographs, and on the projection night the author will introduce the public to the photographic work he created during his multiple short-term art residencies in Kybartai region. The residencies were organized by KAUNAS PHOTO festival and Kybartai community.

Lithuanian public is already familiar with M.Forecki’s photography. In 2014, KAUNAS PHOTO presented M.Forecki’s exhibition “Lithuania. January 1991” at the Seimas of Lithuania. In 2016, in the context of “New Urban Narratives” project, he documented Kaunas Savanorių Avenue with other European photographers. This work was displayed at the Town Hall square of Kaunas in the form of a luminous installation.

KAUNAS PHOTO is the longest-running annual photo art festival in the Baltic States, since 2004, taking place every September in the second-largest Lithuanian town of Kaunas. The festival is organized by NGO “Šviesos raštas”. KAUNAS PHOTO festival’s major sponsors are the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Kaunas City Municipality. Partners of KAUNAS PHOTO programme in Kybartai: Kybartai community and Kybartai Eldership of Vilkaviškis District Municipality. Mariusz Forecki residencies and exhibitions in Kybartai were supported by the Polish Institute in Vilnius.

The exhibition “Olegas Truchanas the legend of Lithuania and Australia“ opens in Kiev, Ukraine

On 16 of November, Thursday, at 6pm, at Taras Shevchenko National Museum KAUNAS PHOTO festival in collaboration with Embassy of Lithuania in Kiev, Ukraine opens the exhibition “Olegas Truchanas the legend of Lithuania and Australia”. The exhibition includes descriptions of Olegas Truchanas life and his creation, also short videos. Everything is presented in Ukrainian language. Exhibition will be opened by director of KAUNAS PHOTO festival Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, ambassador of Embassy of Lithuania in Ukraine Marius Janukonis and ambassador of Embassy of Australia in Ukraine Melissa O’Rourke. The exhibition on display till 3 of December.

Olegas Truchanas, the most famous Lithuanian – Australian, was born in Šiauliai in 1923 and died in 1972 during the photographic expedition in Tasmania. He moved to Australia after the Second World War and then settled in Tasmania. His passion for traveling and exploring extended into his photographic practice, which he then used to educate and raise ecological awareness. Whilst still in Lithuania, Olegas learned to care and look after every part of nature, however in Australia at the time nature was seen as a resource to be used. His day job was at a company building hydroelectric power plants, however he dedicated all of his spare time for the care and conservation of Tasmanian landscape, at least through photography. His job didn’t allow him to publicly speak out against the hydroelectric power plants and the effect it has on the landscape. However Olegas Truchanas travelled around the country organizing events, where he would project his photographic slides accompanied by dramatic music, and these were attended by thousands of people. The legend was born.

Mindaugas Kavaliauskas emphasizes that the Olegas Truchanas story is unique, because stunning nature photographs started a powerful community movement, that changed the public view on ecology and conservation, set up nature reserves, and even influenced the change of political powers in Tasmania.

He was a true person of nature: loving nature and exploring it. Just because of him I had a chance to know a beautiful nature of Tasmania. I am sure that the works made by Olegas Truchanas in Tasmania will remain as valuable material and expensive present for Australia. I am very happy that you made an initiative to present him, because people like him are so rarely in this world. He deserves our respect and we just can thank that he lived…”, – told the president of Lithuania Republic Valdas Adamkus who met Olegas Truchanas during his trip in Australia in 1964.


Consultant of exhibition Jonas Nekrašius (Šiauliai), Dr. Doug Spowart (Brisbane-Hobart), texts by Prof. Kristina Juraitė and Jonas Nekrašius, exhibition scenography by Mindaugas Kavaliauskas. Photography from archive of Truchanas family (© Melva Truchanas). Texts translations to Ukrainian language by Renata Kanarska (Kiev).

KAUNAS PHOTO is the longest – running annual photography festival in Lithuania and the Baltic States. It has been a festival of premières for future stars of photography since its launch in 2004. KAUNAS PHOTO festival is a platform for dialogue around contemporary photographic creation between North and South, East and West. Next to the exhibition in Kaunas the festival organize exhibition in other Lithuanian cities and abroad. Since 2005, Kaunas-Photo-curated shows visited Finland, Poland, Italy, France, China, and New Zealand.

Organizers: KAUNAS PHOTO festival, Taras Shevchenko National Museum, Embassy of Lithuania in Ukraine, Embassy of Australia in Ukraine.

Sponsors – Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Culture Institute.