University of Tasmania
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Lithuanian artists in Australia 1950-1990: Vols.I and II

posted on 2023-05-26, 00:34 authored by Kazokas, GE
This thesis documents and discusses the life and work of 137 Lithuanian artists in Australia from 1950 to 1990. In order to provide a context for doing this, a panoramic view of the organizational and cultural activities of the general Lithuanian community in Australia is included. The thesis then attempts to give an account of the contributions made by Lithuanian artists to Australian visual art in graphic art, oil and watercolour painting, sculpture, portraiture, photography, ceramics and theatrical stage desi go. There have been no previous studies of Lithuanian art in Australia and this material has been collected directly from the artists during interviews, by researching the Lithuanian and Australian press and catalogues and, in the case of deceased artists, by interviewing their relatives and friends. Many works in private Lithuanian collections around Australia have been photographed. The thesis has seven chapters. The first gives an outline of Lithuanian history from the thirteenth century until World War II. The second chapter is concerned with Lithuanian cultural history and includes information about Lithuanian mythology, language and literature and the development of Lithuanian art. The third chapter describes the organization and development of cultural activities of Lithuanian communities in Australia. A comparison is made with longer-established Lithuanian communities in the USA. The final four chapters are concerned with the artistic activities of individual artists. For ease of organization and comprehension, the thesis divides artists according to whether they are first- or second-generation Lithuanians in Australia. First-generation artists are subdivided into five groups with the terms 'Vanguard', 'Delayed', 'Latecomers', 'Folk Artists' and 'CommunitySupporting Artists' used to distinguish among them. Second-generation artists are subdivided into two groups, 'Young Arrivals' and 'Australian-born'. Some of the terms used require a brief explanation. 'Vanguard' are those first-generation artists who, when they arrived in Australia had already undergone extensive artistic training in Europe. In some cases, they were established artists. They generally began to pursue artistic activity almost immediately, even while carrying out re-settlement contractual obligations. Most were also active Lithuanian community members and the term 'Vanguard' seems a particularly apt title for this group of artists. 'Delayed' artists are those who, for various reasons, found it necessary to postpone artistic activity after their migration to Australia. Most had had professional art training in Europe but were not able to engage in artistic activity to any degree for a considerable time after coming here. Those classified as 'Latecomers' have generally taken up art at a later stage of their lives. Although art was often an interest from childhood, for most the opportunity to study and pursue art did not come until many years after their arrival in Australia. The thesis further divides the artists and the Lithuaruan communities on a geographic regional basis. Chapter 4 deals with Sydney, the largest Lithuanian population centre in Australia; subsequent chapters focus on Melbourne and Adelaide, while Chapter 7 describes a number of smaller Lithuanian communities and the Lithuanian artists who work there. A number of distinctive Lithuanian characteristics and concerns are addressed as well as ways in which Lithuanian artists have spread their influence beyond the Lithuanian community.


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