For the occasion of the possibly last edition, the festival’s founder Mindaugas Kavaliauskas conceived the idea of honouring one of the patriarchs of Lithuanian photography, Antanas Sutkus, by embellishing the façade of the Ežerėlis Primary School with a motif of his work. The motif chosen for the mural was Antanas Sutkus’ “Mother’s Hand” (Vilnius, 1966, although some sources state 1965), depicting a girl holding her mother’s hand.
After the artist Marius Skrupskis completed the work and Mindaugas Kavaliauskas made a post about it on Facebook, the reactions to the work were overwhelming.
“The window of my work is directly facing this wall… I’ve watched this artist work every day, and the result is really something … Thank you for the opportunity to see it so closely ,” Ieva shared her impressions.
“It looks amazing. Thank you very much. It will make us, the people of Ežerėlis, happy every day ,” wrote Asta on social media.
“Perfection. I went, stood, watched and wiped a tear. Very strong. THANK YOU.“, wrote Inutė.
Antanas Sutkus, a classic of Lithuanian photography, said that “Mindaugas Kavaliauskas has found yet another way to engage with photography through a direct participation of the people themselves. This is both a great appreciation and, at the same time, a responsibility—photography as an artistic element in a town has both an educational function and an emotional impact. I believe that “Mother’s Hand” will convey to the inhabitants of Jezerele the empathy that I feel for my native land.”
The Mayor of Kaunas District Municipality Valerijus Makūnas says that “Sutkus’s works have been acquired by the world’s most famous museums: the National Library in Paris, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Dresden Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, and private collections. I am delighted that his work “Mother’s Hand” has become a part of the Ežerėlis school building.” Expressing his gratitude to the young generation photographer Mindaugas Kavaliauskas and the whole team for realising the idea, the mayor hinted that we should look forward to other news in the summer…
According to Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, the director of the KAUNAS PHOTO festival and the author of the idea, this work will remind the students attending the same school as the legendary photographer did, that you can grow up to be a talent of global significance, even if you come from a small village.
The sponsor of the KAUNAS PHOTO photography festival is the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The implementation of the mural was managed by Karolina Krinickaitė, the image was transferred onto the wall by the artist Marius Skrupskis. The implementation of the mural was supported by the Antanas Sutkus Photographic Archive, Kaunas District Municipality and Ežerėlis Primary School.
The international KAUNAS PHOTO photo art festival was held annually from 2004 to 2021.