I organized the highly successful Hope and Spirit project, which took place at the Balzekas Museum in 2011-12. This was to mark the 70 year anniversary of the mass deportations from the Baltic republics to Siberia by Stalin, and to commemorate the victims of these atrocities. Four of my blood relatives died during NKVD interrogations, and eight were deported to Siberia.
The primary purpose of this project was to inform the general public of these events and the deaths of 20 million innocent people. If history is forgotten, it will repeat itself. With the recent events in Ukraine and Syria, it appears that my concerns were prophetic. History is repeating itself.
It is due to my efforts that over 400 letters and photographs sent from Siberia have been found and saved from oblivion, and the tragic family stories revealed.
In this exhibit of seven LED light sculpture diptychs, I incorporate these photographs and letters. If we remember departed individuals, in a sense they remain immortal. Memories are stored in neural networks in our brains. I incorporate the photographic images under layers of my own neural networks, brain scan images, and brain wave tracings.
Several of these diptychs focus on individual families, including my own relatives and those of the famed author Ruta Sepetys.
Each diptych consists of a steady white light, and the other with color changing lights. This diptych structure parallels our own brain functioning, where the left hemisphere is analytical, black and white, and the right hemisphere creative, colorful.
The images were printed on three layers of polycarbonate to parallel the three layers of our own thought processes: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.
The exhibit is located in the street-level entrance lobby of the museum. There are broad glass doors and windows through which the exhibit can be seen day and night. The lights are never turned off.
The exhibit opened on March 27, 2015 and was to run through June. Due to it’s popular appeal, it has been extended several times, and will now run through December 2015.
On September 3, 2015, this exhibit was selected Pick of the Week by the Chicago Tribune. Given the number of gallery and museum exhibits up in Chicago at that time, this truly was a tremendous honor.
Further information, and links to YouTube videos can be found in the Online Gallery tab of this website.
The exhibit continues at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, 6500 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, Illinois.