Oolah: looking for love in all the wrong places, linocut, artist’s proof on Japanese paper, 2009, edition of 10, originally printed for an Australian Print Workshop fundraiser.
My earliest memories are of children’s books sent from Lithuania by my aunt. These Soviet era publications were printed on poor quality, pulpy paper but were illustrated by brilliant graphic artists, who utilised traditional Lithuanian folk motifs to subtly subvert the Soviet régime. This was my introduction to the stylisations, ornamentation and strong contrasts of traditional wood and linocuts, and remains an enduring influence on my relief print work. Those of you familiar with totalitarian iconography will also note my playful reference to the visionary, heroic worker; an ironic self-portrait of one who, as the title suggests, was ‘looking for love in all the wrong places.’
In response to Marcus Bunyan’s recent op-shop find of an original Arūnas Tarabilda (for images and information please visit his Facebook post), I have been inspired to share the prints I acquired on a trip to Lithuania in 1990: two works by the much admired and awarded graphic artist, illustrator and printmaker, Aldona Skirutytė (17 May 1932 – 1 November 2005).
Šventė (the celebration) from the cycle Gintarėlio kraštas (land of amber), edition 15/50, 1967
Unfortunately, only Šventė is framed under museum quality glass. I apologise for the quality of the photographs of the second print. It’s under reflective glass, as you can see.
Vilnius švenčia 650m! (Vilnius celebrates 650 years) from the cycle Senasis ir naujasis Vilnius (old and new Vilnius), edition 12/50, 1973
This relief print celebrates the foundation of Vilnius in 1323. Details include classic views of Vilnius Cathedral, the Gothic masterpiece St Anne’s Church, the sixteenth century Gates of Dawn, and allusions to the River Neris and to the cornucopia of arts, music and culture adorning the city.
Finally, to give you a sense of scale, the prints hanging above our couch. From Vilnius to North Fremantle, what a journey!