NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

In 2020 Lithuanian Artists’ Association, in cooperation with the Centre Of Contemporary Art In Toruń (Poland) and the Academy of the Senses organization from Reykjavík (Iceland) started an international project "Common Ground/ComG". The focus of the project is on a social discourse: challenges of migration, interactions between different cultures, integration of ethnic minorities and local communities, and mutual understanding while creating a favourable microclimate for all. In the face of ecological, economic, environmental and forced displacement crises, the “common ground” must be rethought to reflect the changed situation in this ever-changing world.

The project included residencies, exhibitions and accompanying activities in Reykjavik, Toruń and Palanga. Its participants included 18 artists, 3 researchers from each country, 6 cultural field managers and a large creative team of participating institutions. During the residencies, artistic-social research and open direct dialogue became the basis for art works. These studies are presented as a group exhibition at “[Up]rooting” exhibition in the Arka Gallery in Vilnius, which is about relocation as a processual event. The fact is that location is not necessarily defined by unchanging location coordinates but rather functions as a place of existing state and experience. After all, what a homey place refers to is everyone’s autonomous and individual experience, which can be transferred to another place each time and still not lose that sense of homeyness. The term uprooting can mean both settling in (to put down roots) and moving away (moving elsewhere) as well as displacement (the forced moving away) and, at the same time, the repetition of these sensations in any part of the world.

The exhibition invites you to think about the search for a place to establish yourself, considering the concept of land as a physical place that a person occupies (Land), and the relationship with the land, which is important to Lithuanian consciousness, i.e. the soil in which something is sown, in which something sprouts, grows (Ground), and the earth as the human planet, which reminds us that each unique medium of life is also a global entity and an interdependent organism (the word Plantae – the Latin name for the plant kingdom – is an anagram of the word Planet!).

The sustainable dialogue between the artists from the three countries showed that the main goal and the achieved result are connections between people, nature, the environment and ideas. It is a communication that creates coexistence, an opportunity to communicate, travel, discuss, get to know and experience space and time. It is a place not only around us but also in our consciousness, dedicated to protecting these connections and cultivating them. It’s as if you were constantly replanting, in other words – rooting – plants that have grown beyond the limits of their space. This exhibition is not about a place but about its creation here and now based on connections.

Artists: Andrii Dostliev, Sylwia Gorak, Maciej Kwietnicki, Ala Savashevich, Wiola Ujazdowska, Joanna Małecka, Páll Haukur Björnsson, Sindri Leifsson, Pétur Magnússon, Anna Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Ragnhildur von Weisshappel, Kristín Reynisdóttir, Tomas Andrijauskas, Andrius Grigalaitis, Marija Griniuk, Solveiga Gutautė, Živilė Minkutė, Julija Pociūtė.

Photos by Lukas Mykolaitis.

“[up]rooting” at gallery “Arka”

Art director of the project: Anna Eyjólfsdóttir.

Exhibition architect: Darius Baliukevičius.

The organizer of the exhibition: LDS galerija „Arka“.

Organizers of the project: Lithuanian Artists’ Association, Centre Of Contemporary Art In Toruń, the Academy of the Senses.

Sponsors: program „Creative Europe“, Lithuanian Council for Culture.

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