Two new exhibitions will open at the MO Museum on February 10. For the first time, the latest photographs by artist Andrew Miksys from “BAXT“, a project that has been documenting the lives of Romani people in Lithuania for the past 20 years, will be presented.
On the same evening, we will also open the exhibition “Poetry without Fragility” by Romani origin contemporary artist Selma Selman in the MO lobby.
"BAXT" – multiple meanings
Probably the first question that comes to mind when you see the title of the new small exhibition is the meaning of the word “baxt”. This Romani word can be associated with several meanings: luck, fate, destiny, fortune, karma. It can also have different emotional meanings – both fate and karma can be positively exhilarating, and also unexpectedly disturbing.
A. Miksys’ photographic series “BAXT” focuses on portraits of Romani people and true stories of their lives. The photographs capture the expressive living environment of the posers, full of allusions to everyday joy and difficulties. Born and raised in the United States, A. Miksys is motivated by a desire to explore the reality of Lithuania. His eye is drawn to the unrehearsed emotions of people and real-life situations. The narrative of the exhibition is also extended by essays by Laimonas Briedis, written especially for the exhibition.
“I do not idealise the people I photograph, I aim to reveal the personality of each of them. I also think that it is necessary to be critical of the need to define people exclusively by their nationality. With this series of photographs and the exhibition at the MO Museum, I invite you to think about how stereotypes applied to the whole community affect the lives of specific individuals,” says A. Miksys, the author of the photographs and the curator of the exhibition.
The small exhibition “BAXT” at the MO Museum is a chance to delve deeper, through the visual arts, into different points of view and life experiences and explore the possible fate of Lithuania’s Roma community.
The untold story of Vilnius
Liuba (The Bride), Eišiškės, from the series “Baxt”, 2001
MO Museum collection
The series by A. Miksys is probably the only recognised art project in Lithuania that captures the Romani people. These photographs provide an opportunity to rethink our preconceived notions about Romani and to see them in a different context than we are used to.
“We want to be a platform for a discussion about issues of public interest based on listening and respect. The theme of identity, of the multicultural city, is not the first time it has been dealt with in MO exhibitions. The history of the Romani community is also a part of the history of the city of Vilnius, which still seems to be untold. This exhibition complements the preparations for the Vilnius 700th anniversary and its programme. I believe that the ability to talk openly about difficult issues shows the maturity and tolerance of the city and its inhabitants,” says Milda Ivanauskienė, Director of the MO Museum.
Leshka, Vilnius, from the series “Baxt”, 2005
MO Museum collection
Roza, Zala, Tamara, Eišiškės, from the series “Baxt”, 2004
MO Museum collection
Works by Romani origin contemporary artist Selma Selman
Also, on February 10, in the 1st floor lobby we will open the exhibition “Poetry without Fragility” featuring the works of Romani origin contemporary artist Selma Selman.
Her belief that art can lead to tangible social change is an integral part of her work as an activist.
Drawing on her personal, family and community experiences, S. Selman speaks about women’s emancipation and discrimination, and invites discussion on the situation of women in the Romani community, early marriage, lack of education. S. Selman aims to challenge stereotypes about the Romani community and thus contribute to a better future for the members of her community.
There are no people of Romani origin actively working in the Lithuanian visual art field, so it was important to show a strong example from an international context – the work of contemporary artist S. Selman, who is currently residing in Amsterdam.
The MO Museum’s small exhibition BAXT is one of the initiatives of the Vilnius 700th anniversary programme. The capital of Lithuania is already preparing for its significant birthday. The aim is to create a spectacular anniversary atmosphere reflecting the spirit of the city. The celebration is being built in partnership. All those who have ideas and wish to become not only participants but also creators are invited to join. More about the programme – www.700vilnius.lt