KAUNAS PHOTO festival 09-08 artist talk & KAUNAS PHOTO FRIDAY NIGHT
On 8 of September, afternoon, at Kaunas department of State Tax Inspectorate (Juozapavičiaus prospektas street 57) we discussed about the financial heavens. Ligita Brazlauskienė the director of Kaunas department of Control, State Tax Inspectorate, Valdemaras Katkus independent financial analyst and Paolo Woods the author of photography series “The Heavens. Annual Report” were present.
Tax heavens in KAUNAS PHOTO exhibition outside the State Tax Inspectorate
KAUNAS PHOTO festival presents new outdoor exhibitions in Kaunas. In collaboration with the Kaunas department of State Tax Inspectorate, festival presents a photography exhibition of two artists Paolo Woods (Netherlands/ Canada/ Haiti) and Gabriele Galimberti (Italy), placed just outside 57 Juozapavičiaus avenue. The investigative project explores tax heavens in „Heavens. Annual Report“. The exhibition is on until 31st of October.
The 14th edition of KAUNAS PHOTO festival explores the theme of water. It seems like a coincidence that nearly all tax heavens are on islands: Singapore, Hong Kong, Caiman islands, Virgin Islands in the UK and others. Some are also in seaside areas like Panama, Delaware state in USA, or near rivers: London City, Amsterdam. These are the places that host most fictional accounts of large corporations that avoid paying taxes, the numbers reaching hundreds of thousands. Fictionally moving the company to an offshore site is the most popular strategy of tax avoidance in the world, causing threat to global economy, businesses around the world and global security. Hidden from the governmental controls this money fuels crime and terrorism. „Any kind of black market activity has negative impact on the national economy: infrastructure development slows down, health services suffer, education and culture sectors experience cuts“- comments festival director Mindaugas Kavaliauskas adding that „Heavens. Annual Report“ is a very topical exhibition.
Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti photographed and carried out substantial research trying to understand the mechanism of tax avoidance. They found out that 32 trillions dollars, hidden in the safety of tax heavens around the world, are untraceable. Most of this money is controlled by the super wealthy. However there is a growing sector of companies, who use offshore tax avoidance schemes legally thus paying less tax and avoiding governmental financial controls. These lost resources could be used by governments to fund education, health services and security. Tax heavens are not just exotic tropical eccentricity, they have become a structural element of global economy. „We spent two years visiting the locations that exist outwith governmental controls, centres that implement the tax avoidance schemes, secrecy and illegal bank operations. We wanted to turn this topic into a visual experience, and we are glad that we made a body of work that shows how these places look, but most importantly, what they mean“- said Paolo Woods ir Gabriele Galimberti about the series currently showing in Kaunas.
„One of our goals is to educate the society about the importance of paying tax. We hope that this outdoor exhibition that demonstrates the luxuries funded through tax avoidance schemes, will inform Kaunas citizens about the harm such machinations cause.“- says Judita Stankienė, the director of Kaunas department of State Tax Inspectorate, inviting to explore the topics of tax and economy through art and culture.
Other outdoor exhibitions from the 14th edition of KAUNAS PHOTO festival are located next to Žaliakalnis funicular, V. Putvinskio street, Chechnya square and in the square next to Kaunas Castle. All of them are on until the end of October.