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Our book ‘The Kindness of One’ has been shortlisted for the dutch award for the ‘Best Designed Books‘. The winner will be announced later this year but at least our book will be on view during the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam! Proud?! Yes very much! (Our book is right in the middle of the picture, the strikingly beautiful blue cover.)

(Want to have a closer look or even order your copy? Follow this link)

Where better or more appropriate to launch our project than in close cooperation with the Embassy of Art in Amsterdam?! On the 22th of November the opening was performed by the deputy ambassador of Lithuania in the Netherlands, Giedre Gelezeviciene. It started a weekend of activities with a poetry/music dialogue on Saturday and an artist talk on Sunday. A memorable weekend with the help of Sybille & Chris of the Embassy of Art, Robi Reisinger and Katherine Oktober Matthews. Here some images to illustrate the great atmosphere of the weekend.

Our last day in Kaunas. As we are preparing our presentation and film for our Artist Talk later today, we contemplate our stay as the Artists in Residence. It is with mixed feelings that we will go home again. It is certainly not a goodbye but more a seen you again, soon! Not only because we will finish our project here in Kaunas but also because the people we met have a place in our hearts and minds. The incredible friendliness in an often dark and gloomy place, the willingness to go along on our route of rekindling empathy and the experiences we shared, have made our visit something that will be in our minds and works for a long, long time.

Now it is time to go back home. To find the funds to travel to Kobe, Jerusalem, Eindhoven and Shanghai. To work with students in these places on their Art of Empathy and to bring all that material back to Kaunas to work with the great people of the Kaunas Photogallery on publishing this volume of work and thereby fuelling society’s debat on empathy. Only together we can define a better world for all of us.

just like snow
dancing
in the rays of the sun
a little ballet of nature
used as inspiration
in our relations
to find a future
with light for all

 

Yesterday was high time for a Vilnius day, a day in the big city of Lithuania.
Completely different in atmosphere and with a more cosmopolitan feel than Kaunas. Along the borders of the river, big impressive steel constructions of modernistic architecture stand side by side with the old mansions from previous days. And when we stood on one of the borders of the river, we could not help notice that it had a bit of a Parisian feel to it.

Looking out on the Neris river, we stand with our backs to the Nacionalinė Dailės Galerija, or in plain English; The National Art Gallery. And we were stunned. By the building, its facilities, its art and the subtle way the building nudges every visitor to the next exhibition. From a temporary exhibition on the painter Algis Skačkauskas in the (enormous) basement, up the stairs to the permanent collection on the top floor. We spent over three hours feeling amazed and privileged.

Especially when we sat down in the cafe of the gallery with views over Vilnius sliding into the darkness of the evening. Truly mesmerising (or was it the excellent white wine?!)…

In our lives, we humans sometimes just run on and on in our search for more and bigger.
In this way we miss out on a lot of things and often forget that we can’t take everything that happens in our lives just for granted.

During WW-II it was the Jews who couldn’t take anything for granted and could only show deep gratitude for Mr. Philips Radio and Mr. Siguhara writing them the visa’s to safer shores. Perhaps an extreme example?! Nowadays things are not so very much different with refugees from i.e Syria who desperately hope that there will someone able and willing to grant them a future. For themselves and their family.

Not taking things for granted also means more awareness.
You are much more aware of what’s happening around you and who is there for you. Even today, when we had a meeting with the printer Kopa here in Kaunas, you can notice the friendliness and enthousiasme that they gave us in helping to realise the most beautiful books.

Just likt this Artist in Residence from Kaunas Gallery was for us a gift.
Something we never expected but are intensely grateful for. For the people we met, the students we worked with, the things we learned and the millions of impressions the city and its people gave us. It strengthens our belief that empathy is something we can’t take for granted. That we need to use it at every occasion and in every encounter we have. To let people experience that when you don’t take things for granted, when you are aware of your own perceptions, we can you feel empathy for the other, the world becomes just that little bit more beautiful and worthwhile!

Ačiū Kauno ir jo gyventojai

granted

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