Mindaugas Kavaliauskas – Portrait of Kražiai


Mindaugas Kavaliauskas 

From Mindaugas’s website:

“Portrait of Kražiai ” is the signature work of Mindaugas Kavaliauskas.

The main part of the project has been created between 2001 and 2003.

Kražiai, a small town in the northwest of Lithuania, is inseparably linked with Lithuanian identity. For example, it played a prominent role in the Christianization of the country, and in the development of Lithuanian poetry and science. Kražiai has also been a symbol of national resistance. The small city offered fierce resistance to the Russian tsar’s Cossacks during their attack on the Kražiai Church in1893. In the days when Mindaugas Kavaliauskas arrived in Kražiai, there was little of this glorious past to be seen. Kražiai had to deal with a population that was aging, as younger people started to emigrate and seek a better life in Western Europe. Their tickets were bought with money from the sale of milk at well under the market price, which was gravely damaging the small town’s most important economic activity. The year 2002 when most of the images were taken, was a time when you could still see the rudiments of the Soviet era, along with the fading symbols of the small economy of the Independent Lithuania, such as kiosks and small shops, and the globalization that was about to hit strongly. Thus, like so many villages in rural Lithuania, Kražiai was struggling to survive the difficult transition to a new era. Nonetheless, the strength of the local identity was always manifested by everyone coming back home for the main holiday, the pilgrimage of St. Roche, in the second part of August.

From the photographic perspective, “Portrait of Kražiai” was a photographer’s an attempt to record a life as usual in the middle of nowhere of Eastern Europe, without a specific emphasis on delinquency or excessive attention to religious life.

Exhibited widely across Europe, also in China and Australia, “Portrait of Kražiai” was published as a book in 2009.”Portrait of Kražiai” is represented by Anzenberger Agency.

Mindaugas Kavaliauskas (b.1974, Lithuania) acquired his BA and MA in Art history from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (1996 and 2000). He also studied photography and art history at the  École nationale de la photographie (Arles, France, 1997-98). Internships at Rencontres d’Arles (1998-2002) and Musée de l’Élysée (Lausanne, 2001) were decisive in his decision to launch the Kaunas Photo festival (from 2004 until present). Mindaugas has published two books: Portrait of Kražiai (2009) about a historic village in Lithuania at the crossroads of change and Travel’AIR (2012) about the human experience of the air travel. His photographs have been extensively exhibited throughout Europe.

You can see more of Mindaugas’s work here.
All photos: © Mindaugas Kavaliauskas.
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