Šilainiai Urban Gardens

For the past year I have been working with Šilainiai urban gardeners community, aiming to save and develop urban gardens in Kaunas Fort no. 8. It is a start of a long, hard journey, however this year brought some positive change and respect to senior gardeners, who have been growing food in the neighbourhood for a very long time.

This is a video from this summer events in Šilainiai Urban Gardens at Kaunas Fort no. 8 (middle part in English).

Some of Lithuanian press covering the garden developments:

https://www.tv3.lt/naujiena/lietuva/1012370/kaunieciai-sumane-kaip-gyvenant-mieste-tureti-savo-darza

https://www.15min.lt/gyvenimas/naujiena/laisvalaikis/is-emigracijos-sugrizusi-kauniete-puoseleja-silainiu-sodus-kaimas-mieste-kodel-gi-ne-1038-1167414

https://www.diena.lt/naujienos/kaunas/menas-ir-pramogos/miesto-sodai-silainiuose-daugiau-nei-paciu-uzauginti-ridikeliai-920665

https://kauno.diena.lt/naujienos/kaunas/miesto-pulsas/londona-iskeite-i-silainius-ir-svajoja-apie-zemes-lopineli-salia-senjoru-darzu-884654

 

Street Art in Šilainiai

Silainiai_elektrines_KONKURSAS_maz-205640.jpg

Calling all street artists!

Šilainiai Project is collaborating with Kaunas street art festival NYKOKA and inviting you to produce work in Šilainiai! There are five buildings to choose from, images and more info can be found on NYKOKA website: http://www.nykoka.lt/silainiai/en/

We are waiting for your sketches until August 20th via email labas@nykoka.lt ,please put ‘Šilainiams’ in the title.

It is going to be the first legal street art project in the neighbourhood and we are very excited!

Important: Please message us if you need contextual information about the site. We can meet up and show you around! silainiai@outlook.com

Šilainiai Project team

Travelling Architecture Workshops

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Last week I had the pleasure to participate in the Travelling Architecture Workshops. Nine volunteers – architects, artists, youth workers and sociologists travel to smallest towns in Lithuania (up to 1000 residents) and work with local children for five days. In this time children re-examine their open spaces, brainstorm about the things they need/ miss or dream about and all together we make those visions become reality.

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I worked in Kruopiai and had the most amazing experience working with the local kids – their creativity, hard work and care for each other was inspiring. Thank you!

Images by Milda Gardauskaitė and Aistė Rakauskaitė

Šilainiai [Fortas] Project

July 15, 14:00-16:00

Address: Kaunas VIII Fort

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/120071465250072/?active_tab=about

Event partners: Kaunas Fortress Park and „Kaunas 2022“

2014-10-15 VIII fortas (17 of 29)

Photography by Elijus Kniežauskas

 

Press release (Lithuanian only)

ŠILAINIAI [FORTAS] PROJECT

Eksperimentinė instaliacija Kauno VIII Forte.

 

Dalyvauja menininkai:

Lahestan (Aleksander Haugen) (Norvegija) – improvizuotas elektro-akustinis garsas;

Paul Takahashi (Prancūzija) – performatyvi piešimo ir garso interpretacija;

Rees Archibald (Australija) – audio instaliacija.

 

Renginio partneriai – Kauno Tvirtovės Parkas ir „Kaunas 2022“

 

Viva la resistance!

Šilainių mikrorajonas, 2017m. liepos mėnesis.

Įvykio vieta – PARIS / CITADELLE NO. 8

Dar 1862m. žemėlapyje pažymėta Paryžiaus karčema ir kaimas / dingusi ir tik keleto senbuvių atmintyje išlikęs pavadinimas. Išnykęs blokinio absoliuto šešėlyje.

Citadelė / aštuntas fortas ant Milikonių kalvos,

1900m. – 1914m. Pirmas pasaulinis karas / apleistas / ir neapgintas. Taikus ir laisvas / kūrybinės rezistencijos fortas – anuomet tik vienintelis sprogimas, atsitraukiančios caro kariuomenės, susprogdinęs parako sandėlį ir sugadinęs vandens drenavimo sistemą.

Neapsemtos liko tik kareivinės;

Pirmas cementas Šilainiuose.

Pirma elektros lemputė.

Pirmas požemis.

 

Linkuvos dvaras – Napoleono kariuomenė

Caro kariuomenė                      Link – Ten.

 

Rezistencijos ir revoliucijos forma.

 

Pirma. Manifestas.

Antra. Vėliava.

Trečia. Įsitvirtinimas.

 

Bastilijos griuvėsiai panaudojami naujoms rezistencijos formoms – kūrybinei laisvei reikia autonomijos ir paslapties. Slėptuvės ir Viešumos. Manifestui nereikia sienų. Menui reikia.

Kartais net požemio. Akustinės erdvės. Smalsuolio ir įsibrovėlio.

Kažkokioje neįprastoje erdvėje.

Įpročio įveika.

Suplevėsavus vėliavai, šalia blokinio absoliuto,

Citadelės požemiuose

Rezistuojanti kūryba.

Nuolatos šalia.

Miegamojo erdvės.

 

O juk šios kareivinės ir buvo skirtos miegojimui – saugumui / prieglobščiui.

„Netrukdykite sapnuoti“ – šaukia rezistentas.

 

ŠILAINIAI PROJECT 2017 Events

I am thrilled to announce this year’s creative actions timetable. Some dates are still to be confirmed and I am sure more events will pop up, but this looks very exciting!

MARTYNAS_01_web.jpgImage: Martynas Kliučininkas, 2017 (Šilainiai Photo school workshop)

ŠILAINIAI PROJECT 2017

16 June – Šilainiai Project happening at BeePart in Vilnius, Lithuania / Culture night

14 July – Šilainiai [PARIS] Project

15 July – Šilainiai [FORTAS] Project

July – October – Šilainiai Photo walks and workshops at schools (dates to be confirmed)

August – Šilainiai Project artist residencies and ‘Tea with the artist’ meetings (dates to be confirmed)

11 September – Šilainiai [RESEARCH] Project

4 December – 31 January 2018 – Šilainiai Photo exhibition at Šilainiai library

 

This year Šilainiai Project artist residencies are partly financed by the Lithuanian Culture Council and Šilainiai Photo project is partly financed by ‘Initiatives for Kaunas’ and the Lithuanian Culture Council. Thank you.

Conference: Accessing the Arts, Vilnius

15 June 2017 I will be speaking at the conference ‘Accessing the Arts: Museums, Communities and Social groups’ that will take place in the National Art Gallery, Konstitucijos pr. 22, Vilnius, Lithuania. More info and full programme here.

Meno prieinamumas

Tarptautinis renginys „Meno prieinamumas: muziejai, bendruomenės ir socialinės atskirties grupės”

Nacionalinėje dailės galerijoje 2017 m. birželio 14-15 d. vyks tarptautinis renginys „Meno prieinamumas: muziejai, bendruomenės ir socialinės atskirties grupės“. Renginį organizuoja viešoji įstaiga „Socialiniai meno projektai“, įgyvendinanti meno iniciatyvas, mokymus ir tyrimus, kuriais siekiama aktualizuoti meno prieinamumo įvairioms atskirties grupėms klausimus, plėtoti naujus dalyvavimo kūrybinėje veikloje būdus ir skatinti kultūros paslaugų kūrimą.

„Renginiu siekiame atkreipti dėmesį į tai, kad šiandien kultūros sektoriui tenka atsakomybė didinti meno prieinamumą visuomenei. Muziejų, menininkų ir meno organizacijų veikimas, telkiant ir stiprinant bendruomenes, gali sudaryti sąlygas įvairaus amžiaus, skirtingus interesus ir galimybes turintiems asmenims burtis ir dalyvauti saviraiškos veikloje, plėsti akiratį, pažinti kultūros procesus bei skatinti socialinius pokyčius ir atvirumą visuomenėje“, – teigia renginio organizatoriai, – „šiandien individualių menininkų ar jų grupių meninė kūryba gali būti plėtojama kaip bendruomenę kuriantis ar stiprinantis procesas. Panašiai kaip muziejus ar kita kultūros organizacija, menininkas gali tapti stebėtoju – tyrėju, kurio objektas – socialinės atskirties situacijos“.

Renginio organizatoriai pakvies į diskusiją apie auditorijos vaidmenį muziejų veikloje. Kartu su Airijos ir Skandinavijos šalių meno muziejų atstovais pasidalins prieinamumo programų kūrimo patirtimi. Lietuvos, Jungtinės Karalystės ir Australijos menininkai bei kultūros organizacijos pristatys iniciatyvas, stiprinančias bendruomeniškumo jausmą bei kuriančias saviraiškos galimybes socialinės atskirties grupėse.

www.menasgerovei.lt

The European Capital of Culture 2022 – Kaunas!

Kaunas2022

Image: judges visiting Šilainiai Project last month. Artwork by local artists Lukas Šiupsinskas (sculpture) and Tadas Šimkus (drawings).

Kaunas has been declared the European Capital of Culture for 2022. 

At this point I would very much like to thank the most resilient, hardworking home team, my creative colleagues and everyone who supported Šilainiai Project through it’s first couple of years. It has been a surreal experience and I cannot wait to start this new chapter for the project.

Next five years the activities in Šilainiai will continue and expand into other neighborhoods. I am very pleased that Šilainiai Project was one of the inspirations for ‘Fluxus Labs’ that are part of Kaunas 2022 programme.

“The Fluxus Lab, involving both local inhabitants and international cultural workers, are state of the art of creative participatory neighbourhood development.” – The Selection Panel’s report Final report, available: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/sites/creative-europe/files/ecoc-2022-lithuania-selection-report_en.pdf

This is a huge challenge and an immense opportunity, that can only be achieved by working together. So let’s start a conversation: https://www.facebook.com/FluxusLabs/

 

ARTICLE IN ESTONIAN URBANISTS´ REVIEW U

KAUNAS – PRESERVING, REDEFINING, REVIVING LITHUANIA’S FORMER CAPITAL

by WILL MAWHOOD

Rethinking a neglected sleeping district
with Evelina Šimkutė

Playground by Evelina Simkute, 2012

Playground by Evelina Simkute, 2012

Much like all other large cities in the Baltics, Kaunas was very different at the start of the Soviet occupation from at the end. Soviet planning moulded, reshaped and greatly expanded the city, and their parting legacy to the city was the sprawling residential district of Šilainiai. Constructed in the ‘80s on a hill remote from the city centre overlooking the River Neris, its towers provide a home for over 70,000 people. The district, like many Soviet-era projects elsewhere, is often dismissed and demonised by those who focus on its grey, frequently dilapidated appearance and impression of monotony and neglect. But for artist Evelina Šimkutė, who was born and grew up in Šilainiai and has recently returned to live there after more than a decade in London, it’s an inspiration and a muse – and making the most of the creativity of the people who live there is her passion. As well as using the district in her artworks, Šimkutė organises photo walks and workshops for local people, and has recently started a residency programme, enabling artists from elsewhere to spend time working in Šilainiai.

Can you talk me through what led you to set up the project?

I grew up in Šilainiai and as an artist I have always been inspired by the site. I was documenting life in Šilainiai for eight years via photography and, whilst living in London, I also made series of sculptures, installations and videos about it. Each time I went back I saw changes and felt it was important to capture them. Nobody else was doing it.

So I started talking to the local residents. Senior residents were happy to share their eye-witness accounts of what the site was like before Šilainiai district was built, and those life-changing stories encouraged me to “dig deeper” – capture, archive, present, and start a conversation. Before the development of the panel-housing district in the ’80s, Šilainiai was considered to be a countryside on the outskirts of Kaunas, with small villages and two large townhouses (Linkuvos andSargėnų dvaras) with vineyards and beautiful gardens. Noblemen of the time used to spend their summers there.

I knew that if I didn‘t do something, very soon these stories would be lost. So I started running photography workshops in local schools and held public photo-walks in Šilainiai, where I met a lot of incredibly talented and driven young people. I learnt about the lack of encouragement and appreciation for their creativity, lack of platforms to share their work and ideas. Also, people who lived in Šilainiai for many years, expressed the wish for “somewhere to go locally”, and for accessible cultural activities in the area where they lived.

There are about 55,000 residents in Šilainiai, but no cultural centre. The library is the only non-commercial place to meet. As a result, this summer I set up a series of activities both in public space of Šilainiai and in the library: artist talks, screenings, performances, walks, exhibitions, poetry readings… Artists from different parts of the world came to live and work in Šilainiai. And so the project started.

What are things you’re particularly proud in achieving?

I am particularly proud of the conversations that have been developed with the local community. Some extremely important themes have surfaced, starting with notions of home, emigration, value of creativity for self-identity. I hope to delve into them deeper next year. Also, I feel very humbled that the project has inspired creativity among the local community.

A series of brand new works – paintings, poetry and other texts have been created. And most importantly – I am very happy for the new connections made – between myself and local residents, as well as connections between different creative people in Šilainiai, Kaunas and nationwide. It is very special to observe new friendships or creative partnerships forming.

What is the impression that people in Kaunas have of Šilainiai? How are you trying to change that (if you are)?

I guess people in Kaunas might see Šilainiai as a grey sleeping district with lots of shops where nothing much happens.

I am genuinely curious about the district: what was here before it was built? How did it look like? Who lived here? What was going on? Who lives here now? How is it changing? Why? What is happening now? What is not happening? Why? How can we use this site for creativity? What work does it inspire? And so on.

What can Kaunas offer that other cities in Lithuania (or elsewhere) can’t?

Kaunas can be old-fashioned and progressive at the same time, there are a lot of clashes of ideas, styles and layers of history, it is a little bit quirky and raw and that’s what makes it unique. It is honest and real. It is surprising for those, who take time to know it. It takes time to know it. It is grey and green. This constant state of flux, the vibrancy and the urgency makes it inspiring.

I get a sense that Kaunas is reviving after a long period of being in Vilnius’s shadow. Would you agree with this?

I do remember having to constantly travel to Vilnius to see movies or exhibitions and it did seem that the cultural investments were made into the capital “by default”. Young people wanted to move there to study, work and live. But the situation has changed dramatically in the past ten years. There are a lot of progressive, innovative and creative people living in Kaunas who know the town inside out, who are embracing and reviving it. It is very exciting to be in Kaunas right now.

Full article: http://www.urban.ee/issue/en/19#

Become an art patron

I invite you to become my art patron by supporting my crowd-funding campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/silainiai

And by donating 2% of your income tax (Lithuanian taxpayers only):

Sveiki,

Šiemet LR Kultūros ministrė suteikė man, kaip meno kūrėjai, paramos gavėjo statusą ir paramos gavėjo identifikacinį kodą – 72000461.

Turite galimybę tapti mano kūrybos mecenatais pervesdami iki 2 % pajamų mokesčio sumos.

Tai galima padaryti atsispausdinus paramos formą FR0512 ir ją pateikus Valstybinei mokesčių inspekcijai.
Arba per savo elektroninę bankininkystę prisijungus prie deklaravimo sistemos.
https://deklaravimas.vmi.lt/lt/Pradinis_Prisijungimo_puslapis/Prisijungimasperisorinessistemas.aspx 

Instrukcija pildant internetu:

Paramos gavėjo identifikacijos nr. (kodas) rašomas 1 eilutėje E2 stulpelyje: 72000461.
2% paramą galite skirti užpildę deklaraciją Valstybinės mokesčių inspekcijos interneto svetainėje:

1. Prisijunkite prie Elektroninės deklaravimo sistemos (EDS) VMI svetainėje arba per Jūsų elektroninės bankininkystės sistemą;
2. Pasirinkite “Pildyti portale”, FR0512 formos 02 versiją;
3. Užpildykite aktyvius laukelius:
5 Mokestinis laikotarpis 2016;
6S Mokesčio dalį skiriu paramos gavėjams – uždėti varnelę;
E1 Gavėjo tipas – įrašyti 2;
E2 Gavėjo identifikacinis numeris (kodas) – 72000461;
E4 Mokesčio dalies dydis (procentais) – kaip nuspręsite skirti 2 ar 1 procentą (kitą procentą galite skirti kažkam kitam);
E5 Mokesčio dalį skiriu iki mokestinio laikotarpio – galite įrašyti iki 2020 arba nerašyti nieko, tada bus skiriama tik tiems metams.
4. Spauskite “Pateikti”.

Gautos lėšos bus skiriamos kūrybinėms veikloms Šilainiuose tęsti.

Mano kūrybos portfolio galite pamatyti www.evelinasimkute.com

Ačiū Jums!

Evelina Šimkutė