1976 Collage Triptych

My sister, Ramute Plioplys, who was living in Providence, Rhode Island, at the time, gave me a large collection of newspapers from Lithuania. There was a particularly large number of the daily newspaper Tiesa (meaning “truth”). This was the main daily newspaper published in Vilnius, Lithuania, under soviet occupation. Thus, the content of the newspaper was heavily censored and was far from being truthful.

I cut the heading from this large number of newspapers, and created the piece Tiesos ieskojimas (Search for Truth).

Adjacent to the title, Tiesa, was the international communist emblem, with Marx’s famous dictate: “Workers of the world—unite!” I also cut out the emblems, and using them created Visu saliu proletariatai – vienykites (Proletariats of the World—Unite). Superimposed on the collage, in red acrylic paint, is the communist hammer and sickle, with streaks of blood dripping down. Both of my grandfathers were not able to survive communist “questioning”. My grandmother, at an elderly age, was deported to Siberia for 12 years to chop trees, all on trumped up charges. Thus, the flow of blood in this piece not only refers to the mass exterminations that had taken place in Lithuania, but also, on a personal note, to the suffering and deaths of my close relatives

The final piece of the triptych, Lietuvybe (Lithuanian Patriotism), consists of clippings from as many Lithuanian newspapers as I was able to obtain at the time. They included newspapers from Lithuania, and from many western countries. The traditional folk motif, crumbling and falling from the left border of the piece, is intended to signify the destructive outcomes of political and religious persecution upon the Lithuanian country and Lithuanian nationality.

In 1976, in creating this triptych, I was motivated by the same concerns that Mr. Edvins Snore was motivated to create his recently released, and highly acclaimed movie, The Soviet Story.

These pieces are on display in the Balzekas Museum, Chicago, in a section commemorating the Lithuanian genocide.