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Photography exhibition from “Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022” in New Zealand

A slice of the largest European cultural event will be presented in Aotearoa - the architectural photography exhibition "My Modernism" by Martynas Plepys at Ellen Melville Centre on 4 - 6 June.


Every year Europe celebrates its cultural diversity in one chosen city. In 2022 this highly popular event is hosted in Kaunas - a second-largest city in Lithuania that used to be the country's capital during the interwar period. It features a vibrant cultural program with over a thousand performances, workshops, and exhibitions including by such world-famous artists as William Kentridge, Yoko Ono, and Marina Abramović.

In New Zealand, “Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022” will be represented by the photography exhibition "My Modernism" by Martynas Plepys at the Auckland Festival of Photography. It will showcase the modernist architecture of Kaunas city where the European Capital of Culture 2022 currently takes place, giving New Zealanders an opportunity to connect with the largest European cultural event at home.

"Lithuania has an active photographic community and rich history. The rare opportunity here in New Zealand to see some of Martynas Plepys's work on the modernism architecture from this Baltic state should not be missed", says Julia Durkin, Founder of Auckland Festival of Photography.

When national borders were changing rapidly during the interwar period, Kaunas and Kaunas District became a significant epicenter of Lithuanian and European historical events. The heritage of this period consists of more than 6000 buildings designed in the spirit of modernism that are still standing to this day.

Kaunas modernism architecture is currently in the process of being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This exhibition features photographs by Martynas Plepys, taken especially for this important application, which, at the same time, reflect the relationship between the contemporary photographer and his hometown.

"Kaunas is my hometown, and I have been familiar with its modernist architecture since childhood. From my grandfather to my mother, my whole family studied or worked in modernist buildings, thus making me fall in love with Kaunas and this style of architecture (..). In my photographs, I seek to highlight the focal elements and values, which in this collection reveal a versatile face of Kaunas architecture and history", says Martynas Plepys.

The proceeds received from the sale of Martynas Plepys photographs will be donated to support Ukraine.

Exhibition partners are the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022, Kaunas City Municipality, and the Lithuanian Society of New Zealand. 

The exhibition will start the “Lithuanian Days Aotearoa 2022” - a cultural festival sharing traditional and contemporary art from Lithuania, designed to introduce Lithuanian culture and entertain both kids and adults. It features a Photography Exhibition, the Lithuanian Film Festival, Multipart Singing Workshop, and other events for Aucklanders this winter.

Contact details:

Written by

Lithuanian Film Festival in New Zealand

30 May 2022