This year would have been the 60th anniversary of the writer, painter and traveller Jurga Ivanauskaite. Symbolically, starting this summer, it will be possible to hear what Ksenija Jarosevaite’s sculpture “The Cat”, created in memory of the writer, has to say. The Cat is voiced in Lithuanian by actor Rolandas Kazlas, in English by Paulius Markevicius, and the text is written by writer Daiva Cepauskaite.
In addition to K. Jarosevaite’s “The Cat”, this year, together with the Museum of Energy and Technology, we also give voice to another sculpture of the city – “Electra” by Boleslovas Balzukevicius and Petras Mazuras, which is located on the tower of the Museum of Energy and Technology (formerly the first Vilnius power plant). The text of “Electra” was written by poet and playwright Mindaugas Nastaravicius, the text was voiced by actress Migle Polikeviciute. These two sculptures complement the other talking statues, which are popular among Vilnius residents and visitors, and whose recordings have been listened to almost 120,000 times since the beginning of the project (2015).
Hear the stories behind the statues as you walk the streets of Vilnius
“I am delighted that two more sculptures are joining the ranks of the Vilnius Talking Statues. Symbolically, the writer Jurga Ivanauskaite is greeted on her birthday by “The Сat”, who is quietly purring in her square. And the light-bearing “Electra” will be able to tell its story to the city’s residents who wander along the river Neris. Vilnius Talking Statues is an initiative launched by MO Museum in 2015, inviting Vilnius residents and visitors to have unexpected dialogues with the sculptures just by walking through the streets of Vilnius,” says Milda Ivanauskiene, MO Director.
“This place was not the most attractive before ‘The Cat’ moved in. After Jurga Ivanauskaite’s beloved character settled here, the square became cosy and inviting to stay longer. The expression of “The Cat” shows that he cannot be kicked out of this yard, he is the master here. It’s great that from now on he will invite you to talk to him,” says Remigijus Simasius, Mayor of Vilnius and patron of the project.
23 statues already speak in Vilnius
Free, independent, master of himself, K. Jarosevaite’s “The Cat” will now be able to reveal his philosophical approach to passers-by. Anyone can hear the statue talking by scanning the special QR code attached to the sculpture or by typing the web address into their browser. Since 2009, “The Cat” sculpture has been located on Aguonu Street, where the writer J. Ivanauskaite lived for ten years. It is here that she created most of her most important works.
And if you want to hear stories that date back 100 years, you can do so by calling to “Electra”. The light-bearing sculpture, created by B. Balzukevicius in 1902, was erected on the first Vilnius power station. “Electra” was demolished during the Soviet era and rebuilt in 1994 by sculptor Petras Mazuras. It is now the home of the Museum of Energy and Technology. Having survived both world wars, the sculpture, resurrected by P. Mazur, has untold stories.
“The Cat” and “Electra” complement other 21 talking statues in Vilnius. Last summer, the ” Quay’s Arch”, more commonly known as the Pipe, by Vladas Urbanavicius, the “Sitting” sculpture by Ksenija Jarosevaite, which is cosily situated in the MO Sculpture Garden, and the Literatu Street Wall, beloved by many tourists and visitors of the city, spoke out. In total, 23 sculptures are already talking in Vilnius!
Getting to know the sculptures on a guided tour
On the evening of 16 June, the patron of the project, Vilnius City Municipality, is giving a tour of the talking statues of Vilnius and invites you not only to ring to the talking sculptures, but also to hear their stories.
As all the places to the tour were booked very quickly, we would like to remind you that it is also easy to get to know the sculptures on your own – a map of the Vilnius Talking Statues has been prepared. You can download it or pick it up at MO Museum and dive into the sculptures. The map is available here:
What are Vilnius Talking Statues?
“Vilnius Talking Statues” is an interactive project that offers an active and enriching leisure alternative for the citizens and visitors of Vilnius. Interested passers-by can receive a call on their smartphones and thus get to know important Lithuanian historical figures, representatives of other nations or fictional characters-symbols of the city immortalised in sculptures.
In the voices of actors, singers and public figures, the sculptures tell us about themselves, about the times when they lived, what they see around them, how they feel in their sculptural bodies and in the corner of Vilnius where they are destined to be. During the live call, listeners can not only get to know the personalities or characters immortalised in the sculptures, but also find out more about the cultural, historical and architectural heritage of Vilnius, and recall the city’s history.
The Vilnius Talking Statues project, which started in 2015, was initiated by MO Museum, the patron of the project is Vilnius City Municipality.